Stand Up for What America Has and Is

The current presidential election is, I believe, the most important one in my lifetime.

With colossal national debt and mounting unemployment on our collective shoulders, we now stand at a crossroads that will determine what sort of country we will leave for our nation's children and grandchildren.  Will they inherit only more debt and joblessness?  Or will our children be able to enjoy the same opportunities that we've had?

Make no mistake: this election is for the future of the American family -- for values, for responsibilities, for hope for our kids.

Family is the core of a society.  Indeed, family values -- love, responsibility, education, self-respect, and self-reliance through dignified employment -- are the foundation for any prosperous nation.  Strong families build strong communities, and strong communities will build a strong America again.

Unfortunately, in the last four years, we have seen a completely new vision for our country, and the results of that vision are heartbreaking.  Unemployment hovers around 8%.  Millions of Americans are giving up on finding work.  Federal budget deficits are worse than ever.  And abroad, we are being attacked with more insolence than I've seen in years.

The Obama administration has given us four years of weakness.  Years of disconnect from reality.  Years of a president who, instead of talking to us on eye-level and from the heart, preferred to talk from a teleprompter.  Years when American citizens were essentially told, "Don't bother; the government will take care of you."

It hasn't worked.

As Americans, we are lucky, however, to have clear guiding principles that our nation's Founding Fathers passed on to us, the constitutional principles that still offer hope -- principles which every American citizen must now strive to make a living reality.

The Founders taught that every person is responsible for his life and his family.  The government, meanwhile, must let individuals exercise their liberty, in order that they may express their talents and capabilities.  When individual freedom is given its due, when each of our unique talents is given the liberty to flower, the country as a whole prospers.

President Reagan showed that this is true.  Like President Obama, he inherited a tough economy and foreign challenges.  But unlike Obama, Reagan did not spend his years in office blaming his predecessor.  No, Reagan trusted in the American way of our Founding Fathers and, through that trust, he succeeded in turning the country around.  He even made the world a better place -- by defeating the Soviet Union, not with violence, but with the strength of our culture.

My friend Natan Sharansky, one of the world's foremost humanitarians, once told me that, when he was in the Gulag, the most uplifting moment of his nine years in prison was when President Reagan dared to call the Soviet Union what it was: an evil empire.  Because of Reagan's courage and moral compass, he was able to encourage those forgotten prisoners.

We need such leadership again -- strong, confident, proud, committed to the founding principles of our nation.  We, the citizens of this country, also need to believe in America again.

Although the last four years have been painful, I still believe in the United States and its citizens.  I see the power of our people every day.  As a physician, I help drug addicts at the not-for-profit clinics that my husband and I have founded, and I've been honored to personally help innumerable people regain control of their lives.  I've seen people return from the worst human circumstances and become responsible and strong citizens again, taking care of themselves and their families.  And they were able do this with renewed power, with self-confidence, with honor.

Our nation, too, can come back.  A strong America will be an America of job opportunity, of family values, and of patriotism -- and where parents can go to work, be role models, and educate their kids to believe in their abilities to succeed.

Such an America can be ours again.  Now is the time for every citizen to tell himself: I am a responsible citizen, and it's up to me to create better conditions for my future and the future of my family.

It starts with voting for new leadership.

As the poet Kipling once wrote, "For all we have and are, for all our children's fate, stand up."  For the sake of my children whom I've raised as proud Americans, I will enthusiastically vote for Mitt Romney.

Miriam Adelson has been a medical doctor for nearly 40 years in the areas of internal, emergency, and addiction medicine.  Her husband is Sheldon Adelson.