CES, world's biggest tech show, evokes America's spirit and the need for us to work together

It’s become nearly impossible to turn on the TV or scroll through your newsfeed without seeing some sort of political fretting or fuming. Never in my memory has the partisan fighting in our nation been so intense.

Problems that should concern everyone – hurricane relief, sexual harassment, even library book donations – have been turned into platforms for our partisan grandstanding.

I hope that 2018 can be different. Each January, I see remarkable feats of human innovation as tech companies from around the world gather in Las Vegas to showcase the daring and dynamism of the human imagination at the world’s biggest tech show, CES, which begins this week.

If we want to make 2018 a better, brighter, bolder year, we must remember what unites us as Americans and what truly makes our nation the greatest in the world.

International leaders put their heads together and brainstorm new strategies for partnership. Businesses actively seek out ways to source top talent and fund exciting concepts.

CES is a global show. But its success evokes America’s deeply-rooted, entrepreneurial spirit. Our unique values and culture, our remarkable legal framework, our diverse population – all combine to create an environment where innovation can flourish.

If we want to make 2018 a better, brighter, bolder year, we must remember what unites us as Americans and what truly makes our nation the greatest in the world. Specifically, we should remember these important things about our nation:

Our intellectual openness and willingness to entertain new ideas. Increasingly in the past year, free speech has come under attack by leaders on both sides of the aisle. However, those who instigate these attacks have forgotten that free speech is a vital part of the American identity. Without this protection of speech, the daring ideas driving technological innovation over the course of the past two centuries could never have come to fruition.

As American citizens, we must continue to embrace challenge, confrontation and change. It’s only when we’re able to do this that we can find out what the strongest, most sustainable solutions are to the many problems we face.

Our dedication to economic freedom and flexibility.
Our nation’s global leadership isn’t solely the result of intellectual freedom, however. Equally important is our dedication to economic freedom and regulatory flexibility. Instead of centralizing financial and regulatory power, we allow consumers to exercise their free choice and let markets – not bureaucrats – decide who the winners and losers are.

In 2017 we saw some remarkable progress in this respect. President Trump began the year with regulatory reform, and Congress closed the year by passing the single most important tax reform legislation in three decades. Building on these successes will reduce barriers to entrepreneurship and help innovators across the country turn their most ambitious ideas into workable products.

Our belief in the equality of all people and our fundamental compassion and decency.
Despite the politicization of crises in 2017, we got glimpses of the generosity of the American spirit: millions of dollars donated to help disaster victims rebuild; lines of people blocks long to give blood after the Las Vegas mass shooting; and thousands banding together – bolstered by broad support from the tech sector – to support the young innovators in the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for undocumented immigrants brought to our country as children.

At our core, we are a nation of scrappy go-getters, ingenious immigrants and big-hearted dreamers. We deeply believe that all of us – regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual identity – are created equal, and that all of us, in the words of President George W. Bush, “can be fully and equally American.”

This year, let’s focus on goals we all agree on, such as passing immigration reform to allow the best and brightest to build their businesses on our shores, investing in infrastructure so that everyone can access the best networks, and concentrating on patent reform so that small businesses can thrive.

It’s time for us to put aside irresponsible partisan arguments and work together to protect the framework of innovation and entrepreneurialism on which this country is built. By remembering who we are as a people and focusing on what we share, we can make 2018 a year full of purpose and possibility.