In the midst of the campaign season, with the party conventions getting underway, much of the rhetoric has grown contentious. At this point, I think it is helpful to consider why we hold the beliefs we do, whatever party we happen to be a member of.
My views were formed by our history. The first settlers came here for religious freedom. Our founding fathers fought and died for liberty. Our own forefathers came here to make better lives for themselves and their families - often starting with nothing - and gave their all to make it in the new country. It took courage and commitment and formed the American character, which propelled a young country to be the world's leader and a shining example for people around the world.
I believe that a country that was formed and succeeded because of the innovations of its people should limit government interference.
I believe that hard work, dedication and ingenuity should be rewarded. To me, that is the essence of America.
I believe that businesses and people thrive when they have the freedom to operate without overly restrictive regulation, and that when those businesses thrive, it is good for everyone: it creates jobs, propels the economy forward and revitalizes communities.
I believe that in the most diverse country on Earth, it is counterproductive to have a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to policy. The needs of Lufkin, Texas are different from the needs of Boston, Massachusetts, just like the priorities of Alabama are different from the priorities of Connecticut. I believe we should let communities and states decide what is best for them and their unique requirements. I believe we should let the states decide their revenue options and provide most services, rather than having high federal taxes collected, cycled through the bureaucracy and returned to the states after the Feds take a cut.
I believe that a burdensome tax regime and the highest corporate tax rate in the world strangles business growth, discourages innovation and runs the risk of driving our best and brightest companies and people overseas. I believe that small businesses, the engines of our economy, are disproportionately affected by such a regime, and that is bad for the small-business owners, the employees and the communities in which they operate. I believe that the government should embrace, support and respect those who have sacrificed to build their businesses.
I believe that this country has a unique history, where each generation worked hard, contributed to the nation's growth and saw their sons and daughters go on to do even better. I believe that is the American Dream, and I believe it is in jeopardy unless we return to our founding principles.
I believe that we must reverse the course we are on, so that we can return to an America where most of us believe that our best days are still ahead.
Because I still believe that America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Hutchison, a Republican, is the senior U.S. senator from Texas.