By Katie Kieffer
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When Washington gives you lemons, make lemonade and don’t forget the rum.
D.C. lemons make it challenging to remain upbeat. “Lemon legislation” coming out of Washington, D.C. is effectively shredding the Constitution (think Obamacare or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Defense Authorization Act and President Obama’s executive order to expand the use of domestic drones).
And presidentially-appointed lemons make life miserable for the common man and businessman alike. Ben Bernanke is our lemon “economist,” Timothy Geithner is our lemon “treasurer” and Lisa Jackson (head of the unconstitutional EPA) is our lemon “energy expert,” to name a few.
So, here are three ways I think liberty-minded Americans can actively turn Washington “lemons” into positives. Grab a glass of Bacardi, matey!
1.) Speak Differently
“Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.” This was a September 13 tweet from the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (@LadiesOfLiberty). I think this statement perfectly sums up what conservatives and libertarians need to do if we want to return our country to its constitutional origins.
Try using different words to express your opinions when you are talking to friends, family and colleagues—even if they agree with you. It is fine to critique public policy and offer creative solutions. However, simply bashing and complaining is futile; only action changes the world.
Words are powerful. If we vocalize enthusiasm and excitement, we will attract new people to our ideas while energizing those who already agree with us to collaborate on an action plan.
For example, next time your friends are bemoaning the horrible economy over happy hour, morph the conversation into a brainstorm session about opportunities: Do you and your friends have hobbies or talents that you could leverage to promote freedom? Is now the time to launch that company you’ve always dreamed about.
2.) Get Social, Get Factual
Used correctly, social networking platforms like Facebook are incredibly powerful. The University of California, San Diego and Facebook recently published the results of an extensive study of the online behavior of hundreds of thousands of Americans during the 2012 mid-term congressional election. They discovered that posting an action step that others can partake in has a domino effect. In this study, when people posted on Facebook that they had voted, their friends were more likely to actually go to the polls.
Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to teach (not preach) to your network. Use humor, offer solutions and stick to the facts. Emotional diatribes such as: “Rep. Nancy Pelosi would make a great witch on Halloween” or “Sen. Harry Reid should stop sucking his thumb and get some work done” may generate smirks, but rarely inspire or influence anyone.
3.) Embrace Gratitude
I believe envy is the vice that is destroying American prosperity. An August 27 Pew poll revealed that 58 percent of Americans do not think the rich pay enough in taxes. Meanwhile, 55 percent of Americans believe that rich people are more likely than the average person to be greedy.
If the majority of Americans hold such views, it means a good number of self-described conservatives must hold such views. How else could we have come to a place where a President of the United States feels like he can tell entrepreneurs (in an election year) that they “didn’t build” their own companies? How else could we come to a place where a U.S. Secretary of State can feel comfortable saying this in public: “There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.”
As conservatives, we should resist the temptation to envy our wealthier friends, neighbors or relatives. As I have written previously, it is in everyone’s best interest to hope the rich get richer. Instead of envy, let’s embrace gratitude for the opportunities and freedoms we have. Gratitude will spur us to improve our lives by working hard and being productive. Gratitude will also spur us to aggressively defend our existing opportunities.
Lemonade works well for shooting the breeze on the front porch. But when life’s problems are bigger than the beetles attacking the neighbor’s garden (think politicians who regularly attack the Constitution) we need something with a little kick. We all need courage to take actions that will advance prosperity and freedom. And if it takes a little rum, so be it. Grab a glass of Bacardi!