The Collegian
Saturday, April 20, 2024

OPINION: Our people make America great, not our government

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

While watching President Donald Trump deliver his first State of the Union Address last week, one thing was clear: we are restoring the rule of law and making sure our government exists to serve the people once again. 

A little over a year into the president’s term, our country has made real progress in transferring power out of Washington, D.C. and back to its rightful owners, the American people. This much-needed course correction from the staid status quo has been refreshing and the University of Richmond College Republicans are excited for our country to build on what we have achieved so far.

We College Republicans believe the greatest threat to our generation is a big government that stifles our citizens with high taxes, burdensome regulations and out-of-control spending. The Founding Fathers shared this fear, which is why they limited the role of the federal government in our lives. Instead of having top-down, centralized power, the founders embraced the revolutionary belief that the people could govern themselves and that government derives its power from the consent of the governed. 

Over the past year, we as a nation have begun to restore our Constitution’s charter of having a government of “We the People.” We have taken a big step in that direction recently by cutting taxes. By allowing Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money, the administration has gotten the government off the backs of job creators and reignited our economy. According to the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, tax cuts have resulted in 3 million workers getting bonuses, helped create 2.4 million new jobs, including for recent college graduates and led to record investment in our country. Wages are rising, unemployment claims are dropping and Americans of all backgrounds are benefiting. Quite simply, there has never been a better time to start living the American dream.

A limited government is the best government because in limiting government, we unleash the limitless potential of the American people. What President Trump understands is that America’s greatness lies not in government programs or policy prescriptions, but in the spirit of our people. We saw this uniquely American spirit on full display in the stories of the president and first lady’s State of the Union special guests. From the neighborly love of those who aided others in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, to the courage of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer who took MS-13 head on and the grace shown by the couple who adopted a baby from parents suffering from opioid addiction, these incredible heroes showed why Americans are some of the most generous, compassionate and innovative people on Earth.

As the president said, the state of our union is strong because our people are strong, not because our government is. We need some government to provide for our defense and to secure the blessings of liberties, but we need it to be limited so it allows all Americans to achieve their God-given potential.

As we continue to reduce the role of government, we can expand freedom and opportunity so our generation can dream big and bold and create meaningful lives for ourselves and eventually our families. We want our generation to aspire to more than getting a government check. We want to be the generation that cures cancer, eradicates AIDS and pioneers the boundaries of outer space. Through implementing good policy that empowers the individual, rather than enlarging the government, we can realize these dreams and more. In the coming year, Congress will have big choices to make on issues from immigration to infrastructure. In these choices, all policies should put Americans first and make sure our generation’s future is as bright as our parents' was.

In his address, President Trump wasn’t merely appealing to Republicans and reaching out to Democrats, he was challenging us to realize the “better angels of our nature” and recognize our higher calling as proud and patriotic Americans. Americans don’t want constant gridlock and partisan bickering in Washington. They want both parties to come together, negotiate in good faith and deliver results. This is our new American moment, not just for our generation, but for Americans of every background, color and creed. We are glad the president has seized this moment, and we encourage all Americans to join it with him.

Contact University of Richmond College Republicans Chair Mason Zadan at

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