There is such a place

By Damen Lopez

Imagine a place where the priorities of God, family, and country matter. A place where small town values permeate even the biggest of cities. Where the acts of good men and women who stand for what’s right are celebrated, not demonized, and where cowards can be spotted by their over-display of political correctness. A place where people understand that there is such a thing as right and wrong and where the good guys are far more likely to own, and carry, a gun than the bad guys.

Imagine a place where the state believes that your income has been taxed enough by the federal government and is content to leave well enough alone. A place where registering your car costs $65 a year and gas prices pale in comparison to most throughout the country. Where your property taxes are higher, but the investment that you make through them can be seen in the schools that are built and maintained with pride, new roads that you drive upon, and stable utilities that you use. Where the wait at the DMV is 10 minutes long and state employees understand that they work for you and are sure to greet you with friendly conversation and a smile.

Imagine a place where class size in schools is well below 20. Where educators show up for the love of the job, with an expectation for results less there be no job to show up for in the first place. A place where students are the top priority and the threat of a teacher’s strike is non-existent.

Imagine sending your children off to school daily with the assurance that they will enter classrooms filled by teachers who act with professionalism and a commitment to engage students daily regardless of what they believe they deserve to be paid. A place where the school principal can lead with confidence, without fear of backlash, and be assertive about the need for more results and less excuses, instead of acting with a level of meekness that tries to “convince” a staff why they should grow, change, or improve.

Two year’s ago my wife and I stopped imagining a place like this and decided to find one. We moved our four children to a suburb about an hour outside of Dallas, Texas. Contrary to the negative opinions we heard from Californians before our move, Texas offers the personal freedoms and business opportunities that others can only dream about. It is a place where respect for one another is paramount and “me” gives way to “we.”

After a national election that shows a country divided, I take great solace today in growing roots in a place among like-minded individuals that are united around all the values that I have mentioned. True, Dallas may not have the same beaches and 72 degree weather that San Diego has, but there comes a time when you wake up and realize just how much you pay for those perks as a Californian and question whether or not you are willing to mortgage your children’s future for them.

When the craving for such amenities do come calling, my family and I simply hop on a plane, vacation by the beach, and use the money we save by living in Texas to help stimulate the California economy.

After all, helping those less fortunate is a value we Texans still hold in high regard.

Damen Lopez, a former Ramona resident, is founder of No Excuses University.

   
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