Earlier this week, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 7) addressed the Stanford University's Hoover Institution and unveiled a pro-growth economic plan for America: to be strong, to lead, to grow, and to empower people by shifting from a government that smothers new jobs and business growth to one that nurtures an environment for getting people back to work. That's what Americans do best: innovate, compete, and lead.
During his remarks, he shared the American dream held by his emigrant grandparents who came to this great country from Eastern Europe, looking for religious freedom and an economic opportunity. They settled in Richmond, Virginia. Here's what he said:
Like so many others in America, I am the grandson of immigrants. My grandmother and her family fled religious persecution to come here at the turn of the last century. Like so many of her generation in Eastern Europe, my grandmother faced a future where no matter how hard she worked, no matter how much she studied or learned, no matter how smart she was, there were limits.The initiative that was passed on by previous generations, the work ethic, the dream is still alive in Eric Cantor and millions of other Americans. Republicans are working to make sure that dream doesn't die.
Just because of who she was, who her parents were and where she was born, there was only so far she could go, only so much she could do.
But America wasn’t like that. My grandmother eventually made her home in a working class section of Richmond, Virginia.
Widowed at a very young age, she raised my father and my uncle in tight quarters above a tiny grocery store that she ran.
She worked day and night and sacrificed tremendously to secure a better future for her children.
And sure enough, this young woman – who had the courage to journey to a distant land with hope as her only possession – lifted herself into the ranks of the middle class.
Through hard work, thrift and faith, she was even able to send her two children to college.
All she wanted was a chance – a fair shot. And if she were still alive today, she would be blown away by the fact that her grandson was not only a Member of the U.S. Congress, but the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In America, you may be talking to the union worker in Philadelphia, the retired state employee in Sacramento or the working Mom in a small town in Kansas. All of them come from different places and different backgrounds. But each of them rely upon a simple and implicit guarantee – that the deck won’t be stacked against them in America. That they’ll have a fair shot and the opportunity to succeed.
The true grit of Americans passes from one generation to the next, as long as government remains limited and opportunity remains unlimited, through free markets and a fair playing field.
Americans will out-work, out-hustle and, yes, out-innovate the rest of the world.
Individual initiative in the private sector has been and always will be the wellspring of America’s prosperity provided we don’t stifle it.