Today, we're witnessing what happens at the end of the progressive, big government approach. After the promises of federal solutions have eroded our faith in the institutions of family, school, church and community, and having spent our nation to the point of bankruptcy, progressives simply shrug their shoulders, throw up their hands, and say, "It isn't my fault. It isn't my job. And it's not my responsibility." That's a very un-American approach to a challenge.
I saw this attitude once on a trip through southern Utah with my family. We stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch, and because my wife, Sharon, was with me, I thought it would look good if I chose to go to the salad bar instead of buying a hamburger. I went down the salad bar, getting bits of healthy greens and dreadfully nutritious-looking vegetables. I was quite uninspired at my prospects for my appetizing lunch that day, when to my great surprise and delight, at the end of the salad bar, I found chocolate pudding.
I immediately scooped a huge blob of it onto my plate, trying to hide it by fluffing around greens and other tasteless things so that it couldn't be seen. Suddenly, I was feeling very, very good about my lunch, looking very healthy but still getting dessert—and a lot of it. As I sat down, I mentally complimented myself for the ingeniousness of what I was about to pull off. I was about to pull it off and still smiling at that thought, I took a big bite of the chocolate pudding, only to discover that it was completely rancid. Rotten and spoiled—it was awful.
I immediately decided that I needed to go and find an employee of the restaurant, you know, so that I could alert the restaurant of the spoiled pudding. I approached one young lady who worked there, and I said, "Excuse me." You know, in a soft voice. "Excuse me, I just want to let you know that the pudding at the salad bar is spoiled. You need to replace it." She gave me a deer-in-the-headlights sort of blank stare. I clarified. "The pudding. It's rancid. It's bad. It's spoiled. You've got to get rid of it before someone eats it and gets sick."
She proceeded to roll her eyes and deliver that deep, soul-crushing sigh that America's teenagers have so perfected and simply said, "I'm not on salad." And then she walked away.
I'm not on salad. Instead of that type of shoulder-shrugging, what we need in this nation, and especially in this town, in Washington, is some serious shoulder-squaring in the spirit of civil society. You see, in that sense, we're all on salad.
So, to summarize the lessons of CPAC thus far: We don't need new ideas. We have pudding. And it's called America, and it still works. Even if it is rancid. Oh, and Mike Lee really hates vegetables.