This will appear in The Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, SA, May 19th, 2014.

America was founded by a unique set of individuals that built a country out of ingenuity and raw strength. A people that was unafraid to take a chance and then do whatever is necessary to see it through to completion or at least fail trying. And if there was failure, stand up dust oneself off and try again. This was a hallmark of America and people like Walt Disney and Thomas Edison are proof of America’s will to win. Each failed in business, were bankrupts and later built empires. Edison the inventor started what was to become one of the largest companies in the world, General Electric. Walt Disney took an idea and created a magical kingdom. When I worked in Saudi Arabia, a senior Vice President said that what differentiates the American engineer from all others was that when a project was in trouble, the American would roll up his sleeves, climb into the ditch and get the job done. That is why Americans were so sought after.
This spirit to excel and win has survived a civil war that tore the country apart. This spirit finally opened the world’s eyes on an obscure hill in Cuba called San Juan when a country referred to as a great agricultural experiment defeated the mighty army and navy of Spain. Following two world wars America’s destiny was finally realized and the country became a world leader. But it is not military alone that has put America on the pinnacle of success. It is a principle to look outside the box and do what is required to achieve. Henry Ford didn’t invent the car, but he did take the concept of the assembly line and utilized it to build the car and overnight the average man could afford this new means of transportation which in turn pushed the fledgling oil industry to produce more gasoline and the states to build more and better roads and the businessman to consider opening a car lot and on and on and on; all from one man’s drive and determination. These stories perpetuate throughout our country and built our nation.
Today with heavy construction and manufacturing moving out of America, our newest opportunity to excel in is communication, data transmission and e-commerce. Our world has changed in the past twenty-five years at a pace that dwarfs anything in the history of man. Like Ford’s assembly line revolutionizing the manufacturing industry of the world, the internet has transformed the world in the way we behave and live. The world and everything that composes it is truly at anyone’s finger tips.
Where did this marvelous concept come from? It came from the American ingenuity to build an information network for the military. It was later realized that this could be adopted for the civilian world. Over the years the joke was that Al Gore was the father of the internet. While I don’t embrace much of his political philosophy it is important to give credit where credit is due. The book, Internet for Dummies, identified Al Gore as being the Senator that did get the internet into civilian hands and make it available for the common man. So in just over twenty-five years we went from sending a note from one computer to another to being able to deliver that same message a thousand times faster, watch movies on the computer, order Christmas gifts and conduct meetings face to face with a person a thousand miles away. This is only the beginning and until this week America owned and controlled this magnificent information high way.
I read this week end that America is giving the internet away. I’m not entirely sure what this means but I don’t like to hear that we are giving up something that is a legacy of our nation. The one thing that keeps a nation strong is to stay ahead of the game. He who rests rots and we must continue to grow, regardless of our past accomplishments. You don’t remain a leader by giving away your most valuable resources. This cannot become a giveaway nation and thus lose our competitive edge. If we do this in the name of world equality, our ability to compete will soon become eroded. Once our competitive edge is gone, our ability to innovate will diminish and America will cease to look like the America we know today.

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