A Government Grant for Relight America™

Relight America™ is a worthwhile project that will give our economy a kick in the pants and benefit the whole country. So, what better use is there for government funds then helping make this possible?

Somehow this thought didn’t quite feel right…especially for a self-reliant entrepreneurial fellow like me. Especially from someone who often rails against government handouts from ridiculous make work projects to corporate welfare. But there I was recommending that we apply for a government grant to help fund the project.

A short time later, I was having a conversation with one of the Relight America™ project co-founders. She commented that if we get the government grant, we won’t be able to use the tag line, “A private sector solution to economic challenges government cannot fix™.” My knee jerk reaction was to start thinking about how to modify the tag line. My creative juices started to flow and new possible tag lines began dancing like sugar plums through my head. But in the midst of this creative storm, my brain suddenly rattled with a scatter of rusty old bolts, nuts and washers. Through the clanging, I heard a shrill inner voice scream out, “WHAT THE ____ ARE YOU THINKING?”

It dawned on me how conditioned we have become to turn to government for help. It also dawned on me how hypocritical it is for me to seek help from government when my core belief is that self-reliance and neighbors-helping-neighbors is the only real way to solve anything.

Now my creative juices started flowing again. But this time my inner voice began chastising me for my lapse. My inner me with finger wagging admonished, “Somewhere there is a hard working single mother of 3, struggling to make ends meet and some IRS agent is going to make sure that money is deducted from her paycheck to help fund Relight America™.” I literally felt ill. If my inner voice had stopped here, I probably could have slept that night. But, it didn’t.

“You hypocrite,” I said to myself. “You know that with money comes influence if not control. Isn’t that the reason you typically shun traditional investors?” “Do you want some government bureaucrat setting parameters of how the money has to be spent and what you must include or exclude to get it?” “Isn’t it you who is always beating the drum with, ‘There is no free lunch’?” I’m human and accept that I am imperfect. So, I can live with an occasional lapse into hypocrisy. But some things that I cannot live with were yet to come during a sleepless night of tormented tossing and turning.

It dawned on me slightly before dawn that Relight America™ has to stand for something bigger than any of the people behind it. It has to stand for people coming together to solve their own problems. It has to stand for independence and freedom borne of self-confidence and self-reliance. It has to stand for people taking responsibility for their own success and well-being. It has to stand for real solutions manifest from our own resourcefulness and our humanity. It has to say to every participant, struggle authentically undertaken is noble and something worth attaining is worth the hard work and sacrifice. It means investing in oneself. It means remaining authentic in the face of self-sacrifice.

Sorry about my thoughts to apply for a government grant for Relight America™. It was wrong thinking.

The government is broke. As a country, we are in hock up to our grandchildren’s eyeballs. It is not the place of government to fund our well meaning program no matter how deep the need or good the perceived benefit. I will not put one more nail in our collective debt-ridden coffin. I am a problem solver, a results getter and an expert at doing it with little or no cash. It is essential that Relight America™ be a private sector solution that gets us and our fellow Americans back to our self-reliant roots. We start by shining light on what can be done when we come together and empower ourselves.