The importance of the American spirit, the perils of ignoring it

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The downward spiral of the Obama-Pelosi agenda is a direct result of either a terrible misreading of the American culture or a complete lack of respect for it. Naïveté or hubris, the lesson is the same—ignore the American spirit at your own peril.

The American spirit is not a theory or just a patriotic feeling, but the unique asset of the United States—the power to produce, to grow, to overcome and thrive. Whether it is on the battlefields, a Montgomery bus, or in the boardrooms, the American spirit is the innate power gifted to all in this country. It is the anointed weapon bestowed on us all to defend liberty, fight for our livelihood, and to clear the path towards success.

The American spirit is why the United States produces 23.4 percent of the Gross Global Product, yet we are only 4.5 percent of the entire global population. It is why, according to a recent New York Times piece, the top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other single developed country, and it is why Americans have received the Nobel Prize in medicine more often than recipients from all other countries combined. It is the American spirit that has led to the creation of an economic system that has made us the global superpower, resulting in incredible prosperity for ourselves and for many, many around the world. It is what delivers the oppressed from tyranny, food to the hungry, and relief to the inflicted. And, despite the risks, it is why immigrants continue to flock here, with over 700,000 each year becoming Americans.

Yet, this administration continues to bypass the American spirit as the answer to our recovery and, instead, pushes oppressive regulation, government takeover and gross spending as the way out. The democratic leadership is effectively telling the American people they cannot, and will not, have any part in their own futures.

I rejected that leadership philosophy. The American people have rejected it as well, evidenced by the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The culture of a nation determines its destiny, not the government that serves it.

I am an American, and I am a conservative. I hail from one of the most highly educated and inventive districts in the country. The 5th District of Alabama put a man on the moon, launched the first satellite into space, built the Lunar Roving Vehicle and the Hubble Telescope. It is home to NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal, and a copious amount of innovators in biotechnology and medicine. The products and services that come from the fighting 5th District better the lives of people globally. Creativity and knowledge, coupled with guts and support, have meant success in my district. We know the power of the American spirit.

However, the Democratic leadership does not believe that the American people, given the encouragement and freedom, can determine their own destiny. Beginning with cap-and-trade legislation, and culminating in the debacle that is the health care overhaul, the Obama administration has been rabid in its efforts to impose the will of the government on its people.

The right vision for a strong America is one that unshackles the American spirit to unleash economic recovery. The right vision is to bring down health care costs by encouraging medical students to enter the primary care field, allow competition in the insurance sector, and to encourage medical innovation. There needs to be an increase in the number of medical, nursing and pharmaceutical schools to meet the need for health care providers. The right vision is to put Americans back to work by incentivizing people to start their own businesses, to pursue education and knowledge, and to invest in their future. As lawmakers we must refocus our mission on upholding the values that are quintessential to the America way. We must listen to the American people and champion the American spirit. It is and always has been the answer.

Whether it be protecting their country, their livelihood, their families, or their honor, Americans have and must be encouraged to call on their unique qualities to find success. It is only through fostering and enabling the creativity, ingenuity, and passion of the people it serves, can the U.S. government fulfill its mission—to be a government of, for and by the people.

We must demand government rededicate itself to its constitutional promise. And as Americans, we must stop putting all of our trust in a single person or party. We must stop merely hoping for the best – we must demand that our government trust us and trust our American spirit.

Rep. Parker Griffith represents the 5th District of Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives.