The real America. The real Matt.

This is not the America we used to know. At some point we all have to stop and ask ourselves what this country was meant to be. Was acrimony and under-the-table politics meant to run rampant in Washington? Was big government and bureaucracy intended to artificially create equal conditions for all? Were special interest groups with deep pockets meant to dictate public policy rather than the people themselves? As I watched Obama give the State of the Union address in January, pushing his liberal agenda by outlining bureaucratic, debt-enlarging policy after policy, I nearly felt sick to my stomach. I don’t believe this is what America was meant to be. I know this isn’t what America has to be either, and I want to do something about it.

I don’t believe in pointing fingers. Much of my life I have dealt with a variety of physical struggles, including arthritis, and I learned early on that casting blame never did me any good. When I accepted reality and tackled my problems head on, progress was possible. And I think the same can be said of this country. Far too much time and energy in Washington is wasted looking for a place to cast the blame. What good does that do us? Focusing on who is responsible for this American decline only sinks us further into the mire of political power plays and bickering. What we should be asking ourselves is, how do we move forward? Well, sometimes the best way to make progress is to look back.

I think this nation, in many ways, has fallen away from its founding and Constitution. The words of James Madison are simple, but profound. “We may define a republic to be…a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices.” In Federalist, No. 45 Madison says, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” Nothing new, right? We learned these principles in middle school. Yet, why have we so quickly forgotten them?

As a businessman and an entrepreneur, I have spent fifteen years living and working in many states across this country. From Illinois to Florida, and Wisconsin to New Jersey, I have seen the diversity of gifts and needs, strengths and weaknesses that the people of America possess. I see that same diversity and strength in the people of San Diego today, and the more I see, the more convinced I become that Thomas Jefferson was right when he said,  “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves.”

This country was founded upon the great powers of the people. Policy was meant to be public, not crafted by the rich and powerful for their special interests. Government was created on the premise of virtue and responsibility not corruption and massive welfare programs. I believe that holding public office used to truly be about serving the people. This is the America I believe in. This is the America I believe we need.

I am a student of history. Over the years I have read over 320,000 pages of history and there are few things I enjoy more than reading about and learning from the stunning successes and fatal failures of leaders throughout the ages. The more I study, the more I see that men like Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr. and Ronald Reagan saw and understood the real America. These men were true conservatives that recognized the founding principles of this nation. Lee Edwards Ph.D of the Heritage Foundation put it eloquently when he defined conservatism as,

“Ordered liberty. It is a blending of the sometimes contending requirements of the community and the individual, of individual freedom and individual responsibility, of limited government and unlimited markets.”

The early 1950’s saw the truth birth of the conservative movement with Goldwater, Buckley and The National Review at the helm. The 50’s sparked a generation of young people to reconsider the wisdom of big government and New Deal policies. After waning in the years of Lyndon B. Johnson Great Society reforms, Ronald Reagan revived the conservative cause, cutting back big government and re-centering the idea of public policy back on the people. Reagan began to revive the Real America.

Over the years people have said the conservative movement was dead. They said it after Barry Goldwater’s crushing loss to Lyndon B. Johnson in the wake of Kennedy’s assassination. They said it before the unconventional Californian Ronald Reagan became president. They said it in 2007 when a majority in the House and the Senate was recaptured by democrats. However, now things look different.

I believe major republican victories like Scott Brown’s in Massachusetts, as well as victories in Virginia and New Jersey are signaling a turning of the tides. After a year, Obama’s liberal agenda has little to show the American people but a bloated and ineffective healthcare bill stuck in Congress, trillions in debt, and more acrimonious division than ever. Sorry, but that’s not the kind of change this country needs. I truly believe that the American people are becoming tired of what this country has become and they are making their voices heard, just like it should be, from Massachusetts to San Diego.

My wife Lili and I have a beautiful 15-month-old daughter named Nakisa. As I look at my daughter, I know that the decisions I make, and the actions I take today will impact the world she inherits. How can I stand by and watch as our nation is dragged down a path of liberalism and socialism that history has shown is self-destructive?

Friends, I am running for Congress in the 53rd district because I believe in the founding principles that made this country great. I believe in the work of Buckley and Reagan to foster conservatism. I believe in the power of the people and that being a legislator is about serving you, the people. I am running for congress because I believe that my family, the people of this country, and the real America are worth fighting for.

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