The American Dream is alive and well. I have long felt this is the case.
So, I was heartened to see support for a point of view that you will not generally see reflected in most of the daily news coverage. It comes in the form of an American Enterprise Institute national public opinion survey on community and society that found: “While most Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of their country, they are optimistic about life in their communities and their ability to achieve the American dream.”
The report further found that “Americans derive a sense of community from their friends, neighborhoods, and hometowns more than their ideology or ethnic identity. Regular interaction with friends and neighbors produces a strong sense of community.” And 85 percent of those surveyed defined “The American Dream” as “the freedom of choice in how to live.”
The America I Know
That sounds like the America I know and that I spoke about in my State of the Industry speech at the SHOT Show last month. I would respectfully suggest that the ownership of firearms is a lifestyle choice for many millions of good Americans who hunt, target shoot, enjoy outdoor recreation, and want the means to protect their families. They do not deserve to be made into political enemies or to be marginalized for the choices they have made or the activities they pursue safely, responsibly and legally.
They are good people who don’t harm anyone and have the same right to the American Dream as everyone else.
As I said in my remarks at the SHOT Show, “We ask nothing more than respect for our traditions that may differ from theirs. We ask for that same tolerance and appreciation for the liberty and rights and freedoms our great American way of life and laws have provided, so long as we harm no one. We ask that they acknowledge our experiences with family and friends and neighbors that bring us together, and for an honest appreciation that ours is a nation of diverse interests, activities, and lifestyles, which include our own. And that we care about the sanctity of human life as much as they do. And we grieve for the loss of decency and all the anger and hatred that so permeates society today.”
President Trump’s Clear Message
I found additional support for my belief in our country’s future, despite our great challenges, in President Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. The President even took things a step further to deliver a clear message to those who would work to restrict our liberty.
“America was founded on liberty and independence, and not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free and we will stay free,” the President said.“No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together. We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny that one nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise, and the light and the glory, among all the nations of the world.”
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, the men and women of America’s firearms industry, for my opportunity to serve you and for the privilege over these many years of being a voice for our freedom and liberty and an advocate for our cherished traditions. The American dream is alive and well.
Steve Sanetti is the chief executive officer of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.