by Linda Vega (reposted with permission from the author and Latinos Ready to Vote)
America is still a young country, re-inventing itself every four years during Presidential elections trying to create a vision of opportunity and prosperity while being a beacon of strength for the rest of world to admire. Through the myriad of struggles and changes over the past 200 years, our growing pains have been a heavy burdensome. But it has been through the creation of a strong and prosperous nation, that America has been able to defend her interests abroad and at home while keeping our ideals alive. The Republican Convention in Tampa, was a remainder of those ideals of prosperity through equal opportunity, hard work, and education, not entitlements or handouts.
During the GOP Convention at Tampa, Florida, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice gave the best description of America’s greatness and a warning on its decline. America is a country that was built on prosperity and freedom, and thereby offers a blueprint to other global nations on how to formulate their own prosperity with ideals and human capital. It all starts with leadership, she stated. However, when that leadership becomes weak, those seeking to emulate us, become stronger but do not share our vision of greatness.
When Secretary Rice asked: Where does America stand? Many in the world cannot offer a steadfast response as a mighty super-power, or even as an ally of Israel. Our inability to no longer assert our clear and steadfast support for our friends around the globe stems from our weak leadership by the current Administration. Moreover, our silence and uncertainty has created a vacuum in leadership around the world. At home, our domestic policies lack direction toward prosperity and security, as our unemployment peaks at 8.2% and it is uncertain on whether it will decline or accelerate at this point.
According to Secretary Rice, if we fear the growing presence of China, there is a good chance that the fear is a reality. In the last few years, the U.S. has negotiated only three free trade agreements and these were under the Bush administration and none under the Obama Administration. In comparison, China negotiated 15 free trade agreement under the Bush Administration, and 18 under the Obama administration. Thus, while China has increased its free trade agreements by 20%, the US has developed an inertia toward free trade. As a result, we are lagging in international trade leadership. This is vital because even if we create jobs in the U.S., we will create products that no one in the world will buy and therefore our international presence will be diminished. The U.S. we traded approximately $104 million dollars with China in 2011. They, on the other hand, imported over $400 million into the U.S. This is not the time to cry out foul, but rather it should be the time where we reevaluate our ingenuity to create a new prosperity for others to want to emulate once again.
The world sees America as a nation in debt, unable to control its finances who continues to borrow from outsiders just to make our monthly payments. Once again, a nation who loses control of its finances is not a leader, it is a nation losing its global leadership position. Without a strong leadership America loses direction, and without great innovation, we as a nation lose credibility.
America was developed out of an experiment of diversity. We have prospered as a nation because we invite the great minds of innovation from all over the world. Our immigration policies have given us the best and the brightest from nations from all over the world, and even those from third world countries have come to America to create that prosperity that they were unable to in their own country because they lacked the freedom to do so. These are human beings, hungry for the success and opportunity that America has to offer and we must continue to offer them this opportunity with our immigration policies, but we must better these policies with the changing times to attract more free minds and great innovators. Unfortunately, this is not what we are experiencing.
The U.S. has denied more investor visas, E Visas; high-skilled worker visas, H-1B visas; L1-B Specialty Occupation Visas in the last four years. “From 2003 through 2007, an average of about 8 percent of company requests were denied by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).” In the last year, 28% of these much needed visas have been rejected under this Administration and has caused these innovative entrepreneurs to create new jobs and prosperity elsewhere. In essence, America is giving away her prosperity to other nations by denying job creators into the U.S. Many of these high-skilled immigrants themselves could be jobs creators. Under the current policy, immigrant entrepreneurs are seeking friendlier shores, and other countries who are more than happy to welcome them. Thus, our current broken Immigration polices are polices that prevent jobs creator from coming to the US.
The recent trend is to demonize job creators and call wealthy individuals as disengaged with the common man in America, oftentimes forgetting that many of us were that common man looking for an opportunity at prosperity. The advocators of the 2nd amendment should be advocates of a strong military—not gutting the military budget to protect entitlements—over those who will protect our prosperity abroad and at home. However, if we allow that prosperity to dwindle because of bad foreign policies that will make us appear weak. Additionally, if we disallow good domestic policies because of fear, we will create a trembling and crumbling nation that will no longer be a Super Power, but rather an invitation to invasion of our friends in “hot-spots” and decline in global leadership.
This election is a crucial moment for America. We cannot continue to spiral into an uncertainty or second guess whether our place in history will brand us a disastrous experiment. We must reinvent our greatness once again, and we must not fear our enemies or a failure that we will continue to nurture if we don’t change course come November. If our global presence continues to diminish, America will lose its shine and brilliance as it drops from its prominence place of leadership. We will stand last in our global presence. That is an unfortunate destiny for our young country who once led the world, and if this happens we lose standing as a Superpower and as Secretary Rice stated, “a nation cannot lead from behind.”