I love Facebook. I never thought I’d feel that way when I first became a “poster” a few years back. Yes, I’ve always loved that I could see pictures of my grandchildren and my friends’ families, but I’ve never been one to actively post personally. I just “lurk” and keep up-to-date with everyone.
However, about a week ago, a high school friend posted something that really upset me. It’s not like I didn’t know we had differences of opinion, as her past postings indicated she was a social liberal, while I am a social conservative.
And, it’s not like her past postings weren’t also a little unsettling to my conservative viewpoint, but this one actually caused me to respond to her posting. After I hit “post”, I was already wishing I could recall it. I was worried that it would cause a posting avalanche and begin a conservative vs. liberal online debate. As I value my friendships, I try to never debate political or religious topics.
My friend, however, responded in a wonderful way. She indicated that my viewpoint was well thought out, she thanked me for sharing it and stated she hadn’t considered it from that perspective. Now that doesn’t mean she agrees with me, but she is able to honor the fact that I have a different opinion. I really appreciated that. Of course, a few of the posts that followed weren’t as pleasant and I was surprised by the personal nature of the comments. That got me to thinking.
When did it become wrong to have an opinion and to voice it respectfully? Wasn’t America founded on the basis of freedom- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to vote at the ballot box in a way that supports your beliefs and ideals, freedom to have a difference of opinion?
It’s no wonder people are afraid to discuss hot topic items. If you voice an opinion that is different from the current majority, all of a sudden you are a conservative (that seems to now be an insult), not socially responsible, a woman-hater or a racist. I can tell you that other than being a conservative, I am none of those other things.
But, I am a business owner. Someone who risks everything they have – even their house – every day to own my business. Business owners are assaulted with government regulations, taxes, unstable healthcare policies and, sometimes, even outright hatred. We are portrayed as being greedy, getting rich on the backs of our employees and not caring about the environment. Where the heck did that thinking come from?
We have 49 employees – long-term employees. Every decision we make is based upon the health of the business – not a personal agenda. We don’t have a company vacation home, we don’t have a company boat, we don’t take vacations on our company, and, believe it or not, we have several employees who actually make more money each year than we do. Our focus is a healthy and profitable business.
If our business isn’t healthy, then we won’t be able to write paychecks to those 49 employees. We won’t be able to pay exorbitant healthcare premiums so they have access to health care. We won’t have capital to invest in new equipment, software and technology to keep our business successful. If our business isn’t healthy, then we won’t be earning a profit and the banks wouldn’t be willing to loan us money for future investments.
And, if we cannot make a fair profit on the money that we are risking each and everyday, then why would we risk it? Why not close the business, sell off the assets, take the cash and invest it? Keep in mind that the action of closing the business also means that 49 people now don’t have jobs, healthcare, 401K, paid vacations, social security contributions, sick days and tuition reimbursement benefits.
In my opinion, our country is in trouble. Almost half of our population is on social services. That means that the other 50% are paying the tab. We have people illegally crossing our borders and burdening our country. I am 100% in favor of immigration, but it must be legal. Our national debt continues to grow and grow and grow and our current fiscal policies are doing nothing to stem that growth. We have dysfunctional legislators at the federal level (both Democrats and Republicans), and in some cases, at the state and local level.
But, with all of our problems, we are still America – the best country in the world. If that wasn’t true, then why are people willing to risk everything to get here? While they are willing to risk everything to attain our level of freedom, why are we in the background trying to stamp out our freedoms? Food for thought – and, of course, debate!