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Let’s Reclaim America’s Optimism Advantage

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On this New Year’s Day, America needs more than a parade and great football games; our people need renewed optimism in living our American Dream. Instead of looking for government fixes or some magical new president who will make things right, we need a kick in the pants to get busy making America work no matter what obstacles we face.

At the 1992 Republican Convention, Ronald Reagan shared what he considered the secret of his success as our President: “I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence, rather than your doubts.”

Oh, how we need leadership like that in America today. As we start this year, too many people feel powerless. Inflation may be coming down, but high fuel and food prices have taken their toll on far too many Americans. Watching the invasion on our Southern border means too many of our cities are being overwhelmed with no end in sight. We wonder if there is anything we can do but watch. The sense of despair and helplessness is contagious, but so is optimism. What attitude do you spread?

There is more than you think within your control. Every day, you make choices to make your situation better or worse. Studies of optimism find that optimism comes from a track record of overcoming obstacles. If you have had obstacles the last few years and are still making it work, pat yourself on the back. Be a proud survivor, not a victim so many seem to take pride in claiming to be.

Make each day count by starting your day doing one thing to make your situation better. Find one way to cut expenses. Find a way to increase your resources. Make a call or visit to nurture your network of colleagues and friends. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes, both big and small. Nurture your faith realizing that God gave you gifts and give thanks every day for the blessings you have. Lest you forget, you’re blessed to live in America. People risk everything to come here, and few want to leave.

Yes, this is an election year, and it would sure be a gift to have a leader who would nurture the hope and optimism of all our citizens. So as the campaigns progresses and you listen to potential leaders vying for your support, ask yourself a few key questions:

Do they want to control your choices or ensure your freedoms?

Do they want to make you more or less dependent on government?

Do they want to increase the size of government and entitlements and the taxes needed to fund them or decrease them?

Do they want to force your children to go to public schools that don’t’ get the results your children deserve, or are they willing to give you the freedom to pick the schools your children need?

Do they disagree with their opponents and state why, or do they demean them and call them names?

Do they want to grow the size of government and its debt, or do they want to decrease both?

Do they believe in the citizens they represent, or do they convey that they are the answer to America’s future?

Do they take responsibility for their mistakes and actions or quickly deny responsibility and blame others?

No President is perfect. It’s easy to promise and a lot harder to deliver. Reagan focused on three things: an optimism based on free-enterprise innovation, smaller government, and lower taxes. He delivered on all but smaller government. As Reagan advisor Arnold Laffer confessed, “When it came to cutting welfare payments and school lunch,…it was very hard. Someone would come over and say, ‘How can you cut school lunches?’ Reagan would reply, ‘I guess you’re right; I’ll tell them not to cut that one.’”

The pressure to keep growing government is tempting and easy to understand, but it is not what America was created for. America’s form of government was designed to protect citizens from an over-controlling, over-taxing government. We need to reclaim that passion for freedom and self-reliance. Our founding citizens wanted the opportunity to pursue happiness, not happiness given to them at the expense of other taxpayers.

The election is months away. So I’m going to borrow on the optimism of Ronald Reagan to inspire us all on this first day of 2024: “I’m not taking your time…to ask you to trust me. Instead, I ask you to trust yourself. That is what America is all about… It’s the power of millions of people like you who will determine what will make America great again.”

Reagan wouldn’t want us to wait for the next election. We’ve had enough of eloquent politicians who think they have all the answers. We need to believe in ourselves and get busy living our own dreams. Then, in November, let’s elect a leader who will stay out of our way and give “We the People” freedom again—freedom to fail, succeed, and thrive in our own American Dream!

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Dr. Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist and author of The Optimism Advantage, They Shoot Managers Don't They, Speak Like a Pro, Meditations for the Trail, and The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have. Since founding Paulson and Associates, Inc. in Agoura Hills, CA, Dr. Paulson has presented to such companies as IBM, 3M, Kaiser, Nationwide, SONY, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of hospitals, government agencies, and associations. Dr. Paulson is a past president of both the Global Speakers Federation and the National Speakers Association. He’s been inducted into NSA’s CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor given to less than 230 speakers worldwide. Dr. Paulson is a long-time conservative Republican who has spoken to numerous Republican groups. He currently is a regular op-ed columnist for townhall.com and politicrossing.com. Terry brings knowledge, tasteful humor, and a passion for conservative principles to every presentation. Dr. Paulson graduated with honors from UCLA and received his PhD in psychology and an MA in theology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.



 
 
 

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Elections

A Call to Our Better Angels

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When the Secret Service agents shielded former President Donald Trump off the stage to a waiting limo, he raised his fist to show that he was all right. As he repeated “fight, fight, fight,” you knew that it would be easy to define his response as a call to take it to his political enemies. Thankfully, his comments since then have focused that word on his desire for America to know that he “fights on” in pursuit of his second term. Commentators are pointing to the iconic pictures of his fist as an indication of how strong and courageous he is as a man; you can’t keep Trump down! The next few days will determine whether he can be “man” enough to tone down the anger and rhetoric that would be so easy to release against his political adversaries. Early indications are that he is asking Americans to give control to the better angels of their nature.

The day after the attack, Melania Trump penned a letter that showed her grace and love for America. She acknowledged the support she had received from Americans across our political divide. She closed her letter with these words: “And let us remember that when the time comes to look beyond the left and the right, beyond the red and the blue, we all come from families with the passion to fight for a better life together, while we are here, in this earthly realm. Dawn is here again. Let us reunite. Now. This morning, ascend above the hate, the vitriol, and the simple-minded ideas that ignite violence. We all want a world where respect is paramount, family is first, and love transcends. We can realize this world again. Each of us must demand to get it back. We must insist that respect fills the cornerstone of our relationships again. I am thinking of you, my fellow Americans. The winds of change have arrived. For those of you who cry in support, I thank you. I commend those of you who have reached out beyond the political divide – thank you for remembering that every single politician is a man or a woman with a loving family.”

Former President Trump echoed that call for unity. In a post on Truth Social, Trump wrote, “Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers yesterday, as it was God alone who prevented the unthinkable from happening. Instead, we will FEAR NOT but remain resilient in our Faith and Defiant in the face of Wickedness. Our love goes out to the other victims and their families. We pray for the recovery of those who were wounded and hold in our hearts the memory of the citizens who were so horribly killed. In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined and not allowing Evil to Win. I truly love our Country and you all, and look forward to speaking to our Great Nation this week from Wisconsin.”

President Joe Biden took a strong response after the attempted assassination, “There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it… Everybody must condemn it.” He called and talked directly to the former President. Trump acknowledged and appreciated Biden’s call of concern and support. Biden’s campaign also decided to stop all campaign ads in the coming days to tone down the rhetoric. Biden also echoed Trump’s call for unity.

Former President Trump has also called for a change of theme for the Republican National Convention. There will be a call for unity in the Republican Party and in the country. Nicky Haley, the last campaign opponent to endorse Trump, has now been invited to speak at the convention on Tuesday night and has accepted. Unity does not mean an absence of focusing on party differences; it does mean lowering the heat of political discourse. Mike Huckabee, former Presidential candidate and Governor of Arkansas, asked all Americans to “fight ineffective but non-violent ways-debate, dissent, and ballots rather than censorship, retaliation, and bullets.” Yes, we need less hateful comments and personal attacks and a heartfelt desire to seek first to understand each other across our political divide.

In this brief period where both parties are calling for change, we must work to disagree without being quite so disagreeable. Understand that in the world of social media and political opinion, the more extreme the statements are, the more eyeballs are attracted. We feed partisan hatred and forget that all of us know people on the other side of our political divide who we love and respect. We may disagree about how to ensure the right course for America, but the vast majority of Americans love this country and reject any form of violence.

There is a human trait that is easy to give in to and hard to resist-“When in pain, find someone to blame!” Some on the left have already blamed Trump’s extreme statements on the campaign trail. Others on the right have blamed Biden for a campaign that called Trump a “threat to democracy.” There are those who both praise and blame the Secret Service’s response. There will certainly be time to review what can be learned from this tragic event. But rest assured, no matter what the motivation of Thomas Matthew Crooks to attempt to assassinate Donald Trump, he does not represent any responsible party or freedom-loving, law-abiding American from either party. Yes, political campaigning is a “fight” for our own side, but it should never condone violence of any kind.

How are we, the citizens, to respond? There indeed must be a call to our better angels, a rejection of hateful rhetoric and name-calling, a willingness to dialogue across our divide, and a spiritual commitment to live out God’s love for our neighbors, even our neighbors who vote for the “other guy.” America has survived past assassinations, successful and unsuccessful. It will survive this one. This is a wakeup call for our
country, may we each do our part to turn down the heat and increase the tolerance and respect for political differences.
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Elections

Will You Take Action to Assure GOP Victory on November 5?

Every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause

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In less than 17 weeks, the GOP will take back the White House, and hopefully the Senate and House, and begin to restore America. Or, we’ll face a gargantuan nightmare that will all but seal the fate of this nation. Do not be fooled by Joe Biden’s defiance of those calling for him to withdraw. Any Democrat challenger will be a danger to us because the DEMOCRATS WILL CHEAT IN UNPRECEDENTED WAYS.

Time is of the essence. While being informed is wonderful, taking action is paramount. What exactly will you do to ensure that we achieve victory? It is no longer sufficient to be a concerned bystander.

No End to the Left’s Destruction

Every day when you log on to news sites, you are flabbergasted by the degree to which the radical Left continues to impose its civilization destroying policies, programs, and activities on the rest of us. There is no end game for the Left, no bottom, and no limits to their mass insanity.

Most recently, we have learned of a professional couple who was greeted at 6 a.m. by armed FBI agents banging on their door to arrest them for having the temerity of stepping into the Capitol on January 6, for 12 minutes, ushered in by Capitol guards. We have witnessed the unending persecution and prosecution of Donald Trump over non-crimes that have been concocted in unison and are part of an overall strategy emanating from the White House.

We have witnessed corrupt district attorneys, corrupt prosecutors, and a corrupt press. Donald Trump is merely the bellwether. All other Republican politicians will be fair game from here on out, and if we lose the election in November, with little or no recourse. One by one, the maniacal Left will quash dissent in ways that perhaps we currently cannot imagine.

The Left is Maniacal

The logical outcome to having the Left predominate in all areas of society is a totalitarian regime. Don’t discount this scenario. As Leftists ultimately do everywhere, they demand compliance. Thought control is their desired form of servitude. For those who do not comply, execution is not out of the question. Like radical Islam, we’re dealing with a malevolent genie that has escaped bottle, has no intention of ever subsiding, and wants everyone to either totally capitulate, or be imprisoned, deported, or terminated.

There will be no effective way to dismantle the maniacal leftist machine if Joe Biden is re-elected, he continues to be the puppet of Obama and far Leftists, and the border continues to be flooded with illegals — until Democrats have congressional representation that steadfastly insures a permanent majority. At that juncture, they will pack the Supreme Court. They will end the Electoral College. They will ramp up gender dysphoria opportunities wherever they might lie.

They will continue to show poor judgment and ridiculous weakness on the world stage. They will kowtow to China on a wide spectrum of issues. They will embolden our enemies to the point where such enemies are ready to pick apart America. This is not hyperbole and is all too likely.

Nothing here is beyond the bounds of possibility and with each passing week becomes more likely for the distant if not foreseeable future. In a sentence, we simply must win in November. No alternative will suffice.

All of Us

All of which leads to the point that every single person voting Republican needs to decide now, how they will lend support to the cause. In what ways will you participate? How will you volunteer, where, when and for what duration? Will you donate money? Who will you influence to vote GOP?

How will you support your candidates locally, regionally, and nationally? How are you going to impact others? It would not be sufficient to say, “I was busy,” or “I felt we had an overwhelming majority.” This approach is gambling with the future of our nation, the future of our communities, and the future of our families.

If we are to win by an overwhelming majority, let us each assure one another that we did everything we could to make sure that that is the result. To do less is to simply take a child-like approach to what is perhaps the most eventful year since 1776, 1812, 1861, 1941, 1968, and 2001. There will be no palatable tomorrow if we lose in November.

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