Brian Kilmeade: America never needed handouts to survive – and thrive

Americans used to have gumption and grit, a fact that has become real to me as I’ve immersed myself in the history of the settlement of Texas. When families left everything to move to the wilderness, they received no relocation grants. There were no chambers of commerce to help them settle in, no Home Depots, and no supermarkets.

If you moved, you carried what you needed, and you could not blame anyone for hardship. You depended on yourself, and your family counted on you. That was the American mindset: the freedom to pursue, the freedom to fail, and the belief that one could and would succeed.

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Reading today’s news and watching the Democratic Party's presidential debates, I see that America has lost that drive. We live in an era in which one politician promises us a thousand dollars a month because automation makes employment challenging, while another promises baby bucks because some parents might not have as much as others. Meanwhile, an avowed socialist wants to take all your hard-won gains (but keep his) and spread the wealth around. Of course, we can’t forget Elizabeth Warren, who vilifies the wealthy and promises to tax them even more the very day she steps in office, because, certainly, the very rich must not deserve what they earn.

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While some of us do need a hand up, whining, demanding, and blaming has never been part of America’s character, nor has asking others for the money they worked for been something we subscribed to. We’ve never looked at the rich and successful with disdain, because, in the past, we all believed we were climbing up the ladder, and if not yet, soon, and if not us, then our kids would.

There’s no reason we can’t believe that again. We may face challenges today, but when we do the right thing, we always come through. We shouldn’t have won at Yorktown, but we miraculously did, securing our national independence.

Let’s go back to being a self-sufficient people, who always offer up a hand but not a free lunch. Who reject free health care, free college, and free money, because we know that nothing is *truly* free, and anyone who says otherwise can’t deliver.

The British burned the White House during the War of 1812, but we refused to let that embarrassing defeat destroy us and came out of the struggle as a world power. We rose up from devastating defeat at the Alamo to deliver Texas from the tyrannical rule of Santa Anna, freeing it to become a place for families and freedom to flourish.

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It’s time for us to channel the indomitable spirit of Sam Houston. He suffered horrific battle wounds, many of which never healed, but he continued to lead his men into battle. When his life in Washington, D.C. crumbled, he didn’t stay down. He became a second-chance man who pursued a new life in Texas. He wanted more out of life, so he went out and earned it—and helped countless others by doing so

Let’s go back to being a self-sufficient people, who always offer up a hand but not a free lunch. Who reject free health care, free college, and free money, because we know that nothing is truly free, and anyone who says otherwise can’t deliver. We need to reclaim that determination to make our family, our lives, and the free world better. It is both our burden and our privilege. Let’s go back to taking pride in it.

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