The two word phrase, “Can do!” represented the American spirit that become the envy and, indeed, the role model for the world.
“Can do!” was the rallying cry that reverberated across our nation 70 years ago on December 7, 1941 when our nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor and our nation was thrust into World War II.
Roughly 44 months after the attack that took the lives of approximately 3,000 Americans, mostly members of our armed forces, the Second World War was brought to a successful conclusion, in large measure because of American ingenuity and leadership.
In order to accomplish this incredible success, our nation, working with its allies, managed to build fleets of aircraft- various fighter planes and bombers that had not existed before, fleets of ships of all sorts that had not existed previously, all sorts of weapons systems and even atomic bombs rushed into production under a massive program that employed thousands of workers across our nation employing brand new, cutting edge technology that had never been used before.
Back then, our nation had yet to earn the sobriquet “Super Power” but clearly the American Spirit prevailed.
What might have been “Mission Impossible” for lesser countries and their citizens was simply “Mission Difficult” for the citizens of the United States of America!
On October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, our nation's leaders turned to the schools of our nation and demanded that mathematics and science become the focus of our educators in preparing our youngest Americans for successful lives.
The Soviet Union scored a number of impressive successes with their space program and the United States found itself playing the uncomfortable game of “Catch up,” but catch up we did!
On May 25, 1961, just 20 days after U.S. Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, made this country's first sub-orbital space flight that lasted all of 15 minutes, then President John F. Kennedy stood before a joint session of Congress and declared:
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
On September 12, 1962 President John F. Kennedy addressed the students and faculty at Rice University at Houston, Texas and spoke about the need for the United States to succeed in carrying out the audacious goals he established during his address before a joint session of Congress the year earlier (video).
While it is certainly true that a small number of immigrants did contribute to the space program, the vast majority of the engineers, scientists and technicians who enabled our nation to achieve that incredible success more than 40 years ago, were Americans of every race, religion and ethnicity who came from towns and cities across this nation!
President Kennedy did not stand before the Congress nor did he stand before the students and faculty calling for admitting many more foreign students or foreign engineers and scientists so that his audacious dream could be fulfilled.
Not a single member of either the House of Representatives or the United States Senate of either major party called for admitting foreign students or engineers to carry out that goal.
America and Americans achieved the successes!
Our nation's immigration laws were intended to enable extraordinary foreign nationals to enter our country for the benefit of this nation and our citizens. No one could argue with admitting truly extraordinary foreign professionals. Today, however, all too many of our politicians, in bowing to the demands of the deep-pocketed campaign contributors, are tripping over themselves to admit huge numbers of foreign students and foreign high-tech worker, not because they are exceptional but because they will work for exceptionally lower wages than their American counterparts!
What is so insidious about this is not only that American professionals in these vital high-tech industries are displaced but that American students are discouraged from studying these high tech disciplines because their costly educations will not provide them with the sort of income that should be commensurate with their talents and diligence and achievements.
I began by noting the anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor. I want to end with a thought about our current situation. Our nation was attacked by international terrorists in 1993 at the CIA in January of that year and then the next month at the World Trade Center. Lessons that should have been learned were ignored. This set the stage for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by international terrorists who easily gamed the very same visa process and immigration benefits program that made the 1993 attacks possible for our nation's enemies.
On September 11, 2001 approximately the same number of people were killed as were killed on December 7, 1941. Yet our nation's borders only exist on maps- not in the real world. The visa system has continued to enable terrorists to enter our country and the dangerous Visa Waiver Program is periodically expanded. The immigration benefits program has provided terror suspects with lawful status in our country and even in some cases, United States citizenship.
It has been more than 122 months since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and our nation's leaders refuse to secure our nation's borders or enforce the immigration laws that enable criminals and terrorists to enter our country and embed themselves in cities throughout our country.
The indomitable spirit of “Can do!” has been replaced with a “Can't do” mindset that today dictates that our nation import talented aliens, because apparently we don't make Americans the way we used to!
In point of fact, we don't make leaders as we used to!
If anyone needs to be replaced it is not American students in universities or engineers, scientists and technicians in the workplace, but politicians who have time and again demonstrated that they no longer believe that the American Dream is the birthright of our citizens who are willing to work hard!
Today we need to remember what “We the People” can achieve in the voting booth, we can make certain to vote for only those politicians who will put Americans first! This is not only something we “Can do” but something we “Must do!”