Thursday, December 20, 2007
You’ve made my American dream come true
By TRENT LOTT
Goodbye and Hello
For almost 35 years in Congress, I’ve submitted weekly columns, specifically to Mississippi’s local newspapers. This is my last column as your senator.
With this being the final edition of what is more than 1,000 columns, I want to thank all of you who have occasionally read and commented on what I had to say.
Even if you didn’t agree with me, I appreciate your taking the time to listen. Healthy discussion and debate distinguishes America from nations which decide issues by bloody civil wars rather than benign civil discourse.
I’ve always tried to do two things with this column – be positive and informative. Bad news from Washington too often obscures the good things that happen. Things that actually get done go unnoticed.
Every day that Congress is in session, some ideas and initiatives are brought to a successful conclusion. We achieve positive results on local projects ranging from rural water systems to historic preservation, and I’ve tried to tell you about some of those good things.
I’ll admit, these columns haven’t always been positive, or strictly informational without partisan flare. There are times senators must take a stand. Often you have to get passionate and call attention to differences, decisions that are going wrong or things that could be improved.
And this year I’ve been critical of this particular Congress, which has procrastinated, putting off about a year’s work until the month before Christmas. Even as I write this final column, very important legislation remains uncompleted. From spending bills to run the government, to energy and agricultural policy, this Congress has failed to produce results.
But overall, I’m confident in America’s future. We will get past the current hyper-partisanship and uncertainty. We will win the War on Terror. We will grow stronger economically, and we will preserve and expand our freedoms.
America is not a Constitution, Congress, court or president. America is not a military, a piece of land or an economic entity. America is a dream – a dream of people who value freedom, who believe liberty is a basic right bestowed by God instead of government. In the American experience, all these aforementioned things are just a means of making freedom’s dream come true and preserving it.
As long as America stays focused on what inspired our founders – the dream of liberty and dogged determination to protect it – America will endure.
Fellow Mississippians, you’ve made my American dream come true. You’ve elected me and allowed me to serve you, and together we’ve helped our state become a better place where more people have opportunities for their own American dreams.
To all the editors who have allowed my column a privileged place on your pages, I appreciate your kindness, fairness and your candor, too. Many of you have become my personal friends, and you’ve come to know the members of my staff. I hope you’ll stay in touch.
We’ve all seen newspapers undergo dramatic changes during the past three decades, with more to surely come. But I hope Mississippians always will value their local newspaper, no matter what form it takes. Remember, no one is going to look out for Mississippi more than Mississippians. Mississippi’s politicians and publishers both share that ultimate duty, and we should remember that.
We may have different approaches, but from Corinth to Clermont Harbor, Mississippians of all backgrounds are basically neighbors with similar values and aspirations for a better Mississippi. It has been an honor beyond words to serve Mississippi in Washington.
This is a bittersweet goodbye to my constituents, but a very warm hello to my neighbors.
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