Time for Change: Choosing a Compassionate America

There’s a moment in every generation that defines it for the rest of history. Our nation’s Founders signing their names to the bottom of the Declaration of Independence birthing a new free nation. President Roosevelt announcing the New Deal to get America working again and creating a social safety net. Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus sparking the civil rights movement. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton chipping away at the first glass ceiling with the passage of the 19th amendment to ensure all women have the right to vote. These moments in history are defined not just by its leaders, but by the millions of people that pushed for change and together achieved extraordinary results.

Today, we are approaching our moment as a battle of ideas rages across America focused on setting the course of our nation for generations. It’s our chance to determine how our government (national, state and local) serves us and ensures that our nation’s policies reflects our values, beliefs and ideals. The debate is in full swing over what philosophy will underpin our government’s actions. It’s our chance to band together and leverage this moment to march our nation down the path of our choosing.

At the core of this debate — is our role in determining our own lives and to what extent we should get help along the way. We all believe in freedom and the ability to make our own choices, but what is our responsibility to help each other if one of us is in need? I believe the strength of our nation is measured not in our wealth, but in its compassion for its people and supporting the overall good will of the public. Others, like Paul Ryan, believe that our nation’s strength is measured in its ability to foster personal success and favoring individual wealth creation over all else. These two philosophies drive the battle of ideas and the future of our nation and government.

Paul Ryan has remained steadfast in his belief that government’s role isn’t to provide a social safety net and should eliminate all such programs accordingly. He believes these programs unfairly tax the wealthy to finance the poor and in doing so — penalize those who succeed by requiring them to underwrite those who’ve failed. Health care (e.g. ACA, Medicaid and Medicare) and Social Security need to not be delivered by the government, but instead procured by the individual through their own means. In addition, Ryan believes government shouldn’t regulate commerce and business. Instead, government should remove itself from our daily lives as much as possible, so the market and private business can determine the most efficient and effective way to produce individual wealth with no concern over the potential harm these activities could have on the public. Ultimately, the measure of success for Paul Ryan is the ability for individuals to succeed and create massive amounts of personal wealth.

It’s our moment to reject these beliefs and demand change. It’s time to push for a return to a compassionate America. One that provides opportunity for all and a share in America’s abundance. A nation that as we strive to live up to our potential — ensures there’s a safety net there to catch us if we fall. A country that guarantees all Americans have health insurance and never celebrates taking health insurance away from anyone. An America that provides every boy and girl a chance at a better life through a quality public education and access to affordable college, so we can unlock unlimited ability in everyone. A country that supports hardworking Americans with higher wages, career advancement and ensures that all Americans can retire with dignity. A nation that celebrates diversity, loving families of all types and welcomes those that come to our shores — no matter what. An America focused on preserving tomorrow for future generations and protecting our planet, so our children are able to achieve greatness.

In my travels across Paul Ryan’s district, I’ve had the pleasure to meet some of the most intelligent and hardworking people focused on bringing this kind of change to Southeastern Wisconsin and our nation. The movement is growing and we have hope. I believe the events of the past several months has sparked the desire, passion and resolve in millions of Americans who are determined to re-direct our nation and lead it on a new course. This is our moment and this is the beginning of a new day — where change will be our calling. This is our moment to define our generation and bring change we can all believe in.

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