Last night at the Republican National Convention, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez gave a speech that brought the house down, as Politico reports:
“I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum — that gun weighed more than I did! My parents grew that small business-from one 18-year-old guarding a bingo-to more than 125 people in three states. And sure, there was help along the way. But my parents took the risk. They stood up. And you better believe that they built it.”As with all great works of art, though, it's sometimes fascinating to look at some early drafts to see how an idea evolved. We here at the Cujo Labs are fascinated by the evolution (if you conservatives will pardon that term) of a political idea from its inception to its full flowering. To aid our studies, some of our trained operatives obtained the first draft of Susana Martinez’ speech. It looks like it was way too detail oriented before someone got to it with a red pencil:
Susana Martinez RNC speech transcript (text, video)
“I carried a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum — that gun weighed more than I did! But, you know, what was really hard was smelting the iron to make that thing. How much carbon do you use in gun metal, and is it nickel or titanium that you have to add? And then I had to build one of those machine tools that ream out the barrel. Boy, was that tough. And I had a little trouble finding enough saltpeter in the back yard to make the gunpowder, but hey, it’s simpler than cordite, and I had to be to the bingo parlor by 9AM to guard it.
“‘Cause you, see, that’s where things really got dicey. After I found enough people jobs so that they could come in and buy our stuff, there still wasn’t a road for them to drive there. That’s how I’d spend my evenings – paving all that tar I mixed and the stones I crushed during the slow parts of the business day …
“That’s what’s so great about America, it’s a place where you can make it if you’re willing to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, after you’ve picked the cotton and flax and spun it into thread, and shot the cow (I guess it’s a good thing I made that .357 first, huh?) …”
OK, maybe someone at the Cujo Labs just made that up, except for the first sentence, of course.
Despite the wacky ideas that some folks have about liberals, we actually do get that it takes a lot of effort and some sacrifice to create a business. Any of us who have even thought seriously about starting a business can relate to the idea that government can be more of an impediment to starting a business than it can be an aid.
And when it seems like the government’s only role in your life is to demand taxes from you, and you still have to pack a gun you can barely carry to the bingo parlor, because the city doesn’t think it’s a priority to guard your part of town, then it’s easy to get the idea that you did it on your own. But you didn’t. Lots of other folks worked hard so that you could have the things you used to build that business, and a properly functioning government made sure that the commerce it depends on is both safe and honest.
There simply are no “self-made” people in this country. The last one made those documentaries about living in the Alaskan wilderness, and even he had someone else make his clothes and his ax heads. We all are able to do what we do because there is a society around us that is able to do all those things you don’t have the time or the skills to do, like sewing those bootstraps on that you’re pulling yourself up with.
That’s what liberals get that these folks don’t seem to. We know that business, and most everything else in life, goes better if there’s an orderly, honest, educated, and healthy society around us. Whatever we as a society can do to make ourselves better in those ways benefits us all. At least, it benefits those of us who aren’t in the crime or security business. That’s what Elizabeth Warren was talking about when she said “You didn’t build this”. She meant that there were a lot of other people who helped build it, and they could only do so because there was a somewhat functional government there to enable it. As that government becomes less functional, thanks to those philosophically aligned with Ms. Martinez, we see that business works less well, which is just what anyone with any real sense would expect.
That’s what I find so annoying about Ms. Martinez and her ilk. It’s not that I envy her, or that I want to “tear [her] down” to use the words of one tiresome commenter recently, but because she just conveniently overlooks all that. Yes, it sucks when you poured your energy and savings into a business, then some librul gets all huffy and says that the business isn't all your doing. Trouble is, she's right. It isn't. There are plenty of people in this country who work hard, and some of them still do tough, dangerous work, usually with precious little reward. Despite that hard work, they aren’t successful enough to be a speaker at a political convention. They deserve a fair deal, too. They aren’t going to get one until the folks who were that successful realize they didn’t build it by themselves.