By Senator Cam Ward
The country just went through one of the most divisive Presidential Election campaigns in history. The barrage of negative ads from both sides left many voters feeling that they did not agree with either side and did not believe either man presented a coherent vision for leading America.
I still firmly believe that the principles of small government and economic freedom are needed for our country to get our national economy back in full gear.
Recently, I was privileged to take a trip to observe one of Alabama’s most important partners in job creation and retention in the state. I travelled to Seoul, South Korea (paying for my own flight) to see the operations our partners there have, some businesses they are considering moving to Alabama, and to visit with our troops stationed at the DMZ.
The Korean Peninsula is filled with the same kind of hard working, no nonsense workforce we pride ourselves on having here in Alabama. Koreans are gracious with their time and effusive in their praise for the facilities they have in Alabama.
We visited several bio-technical firms and automotive parts facilities, all of which were excited about the potential in Alabama’s economy.
One of the most humbling parts of the trip was our visit to Panmunjom. We visited with our soldiers stationed there, and thanked them for their service to our country. While North and South Korea have a 60-year truce, the countries are still technically at war with one another, and the American forces stationed at the DMZ are well aware that they guard a border that could explode into a war in Korea, with global implications.
The North Koreans are masters of propaganda, constantly barraging the South Korean citizens with messages of a worker’s paradise, just over the border. Visible from the border is the facade of a modern-looking building that is really only like those of a Hollywood set. It’s not even a functioning building.
As we all know, North Korea is a failed state that can barely feed its own people, but spends the precious little money its government has on trying to fool both the free people of the west and its own citizens.
To stand on the border between North and South Korea is to observe the stark contrast between freedom and tyranny. It is enough to make anyone thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in America.
In America, we are free to protest our government, practice our religious beliefs as we see fit, educate ourselves, and partner with companies halfway across the globe to create jobs for the betterment of our citizens.
We are free to hold elections, and when we don’t like the outcome of those elections, we don’t take to the streets with arms, and we don’t quit on our country. We redouble our efforts to do better next time – to communicate our message of economic freedom and fiscal responsibility. Yes, we have our problems, but also the freedom to resolve them.
If you feel overwhelmed by circumstances this holiday season, try to keep in mind that we live in a great country, and can remain great if we all work together to ensure our freedoms.