By Frank Hill
'Steven Jobs gave this speech to the 2005 graduates of Stanford University which is a must-read for anyone who is taking a risk every day and building a business and providing jobs for the rest of us:
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.'
Jobs' words directly apply to how we all should look at the political world around us today and the public arena in which the battle of ideas are fought on a continual basis.
Just listen to the words as you sound them out above and imagine that someone at the Founding of our Democratic Republic such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington or George Mason were saying them at the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 or the passage of the US Constitution in 1787.
We think the words might have sounded somewhat like this:
'Our time is limited, gentlemen. The King of England tells us what to do, when to do it and how to do it. He taxes us without end and he spends our money in ways with which we vehemently disagree.
We are wasting our lives and freedoms by living the life he has chosen for us.
We came to America to pursue our dreams of freedom: religious freedom, freedom to think and speak freely, freedom to pursue the goals we we want to pursue, not be subservient to a centralized power such as this 'king' and his whims and wishes.
We consider the tyranny of the mind to be the worst of all imaginable sins. When we are forced to live with the results of other people's thinking and by their directive, we will surely die an unhappy person.
We can not let the noise of others' opinions drown out our own inner voice.
And most important, we must have the courage to follow our own hearts and intuitions. They somehow already know what we truly want to become. A free and prosperous yet generous nation.
Everything else is secondary.'Why are we so content as a nation today to allow our duly-elected representatives, senators and Presidents to continually make repeatedly wrong-headed decisions on our behalf? Does that reflect the collective intelligence of this nation? Are we that 'stupid' as a country nowadays?
Or is it that the very best people we have in this country, those with massive amounts of brains, intelligence, charisma, charm, talent, ability, perseverance and guts, have simply chosen to live the 'life of leisure' and disengage from the hard work that a democratic republic such as ours takes to stay afloat?
We have heard it said many, many times:
- 'I am too busy at work'.
- 'I have worked hard for what I have and own. I am not going to sacrifice any time at my various vacation homes or clubs to run for office and then, (audible 'ugh!' sound comes up from the diaphragm) 'become a (lowly) public servant!'
- 'I just don't care any more.'
- 'It is beyond hopeless. The crazy, lazy people have taken over this country.'
We don't think Thomas Jefferson or James Madison or Benjamin Franklin would have fit very well into your circle of friends. They would have been too busy saving the Republic right now.
They were among the most brilliant and successful people this nation has yet to produce, although Steven Jobs and Bill Gates and a few others will be remembered in the national history books in about 200 years as being almost of their equal in terms of positive impact on our national life together.
They sacrificed everything, and we mean everything, from their fortunes to their spacious homes to their reputations to their very lives, and put them on the line to fight and then secure our very freedoms that we so lackadaisically take for granted nowadays.
"Freedom isn't 'free'!" is the old adage people use to salute veterans of foreign wars who have defended our physical freedom.
'Free Enterprise Ain't Free!' either. It has to be defended and protected just like our freedom of speech, religion and right to assembly have to be protected from repeated attacks.
It is your choice. You can either rise to the challenge and help protect and defend the ideals of America by either running for political office or vigorously supporting like-minded candidates with your generous financial support on an annual giving basis.
And that is just about it, truth be told. Your vote means something and your opinions amongst your friends and in the occasional posting on Facebook, Twitter or in the newspapers that are somehow still hanging barely to life by a thread, also 'matter'.
But our words don't move mountains, do they? Our 'actions' do. Our actions speak more thunderously than any words we can speak.
Take Steven Jobs' words to heart as you consider what you are going to do with the rest of your life and the current political situation right now.
The answer has already been revealed to you in his Stanford commencement speech.
(Editor's Note: Frank Hill's resumé includes working as chief of staff for Senator Elizabeth Dole and Congressman Alex McMillan, serving on the House Budget Committee and serving on the Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He takes on politics from a fiercely independent perspective at the blog Telemachus).