Friday, July 4, 2014

America...Past, Present &...Future?


     I’m angry. Saddened. Frustrated. Most of all, I’m scared…for America.

     Time was when the country’s collective mindset was based on individuals pride, drive and desire to make the country a better place for (their) children. It was a positive, “can do” spirit in very tough times. If you worked hard, minded your own business, kept your own nose clean, then sooner or later you’d likely make it.

     They plowed, they planted, they mined. They stumbled, they fell, they hurt and they were tired. And still they believed. Many died. Young.

     Most never “made it big”. By today’s standards. But they brought us here. What’s more, most of those who didn’t “make it big” were content. With themselves.

      Putting in an honest day’s work, trying to see your family was clothed and fed (that’s what those 12 or 14 hour days were for), seeing the fruits of your labor, teaching your kids to respect the family, the country that gave you this chance, the land, and the labor itself. That was much of the reward.

    ( It’s never been easy-certainly not before electric light, the plow, the wheel- let alone phones and computers. Who among us would like to have been a caveman…excuse me, caveperson. Now there was some easy livin’! No choice but to join in the hunt, fish and gather to survive. Don’t let the wooly mammoth gore you. This fire thing is a bit tricky, too).

     And this group of individuals fought when they had to. For liberty. They believed that and history will record it so. They fought. And they won. Every single time they had to. None enjoyed it. It would be the worst possible experience of their lives-save one. The thought of losing their liberty. Their right to see that their work paid off for themselves, their neighbors, their country.

     This collection of individuals worked and fought-and succeeded- as one whole better than any group or ‘society’ or ‘class’ or ‘system’ ever could. Because they were a collection of individuals. With individual beliefs and freedoms. 
       And one monumental set of shared beliefs. Belief in natural law and limited, republican government- of, by and for the people. And this they treasured above all else. Alone they could make a difference, together with these few shared beliefs they were insurmountable.

     These were our forefathers and mothers.

     And here we are today. The most free and affluent society in history. A large portion of us believing we’re victims. Of racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Of our neighbor (he smokes cigarettes outside and if my windows are open…!). Of the capitalist system that got us here. Of the neighbor’s dog. Of the weather (my God, the wind has just ruined my hair and I just spent $100 at the salon!). Of the police. Or big business. Exxon, BP. GM.

     We’ve won the Cold War (thank you Ronald Reagan). Much of the world is trying to throw off their shackles and trend towards a more free market economic system.

     Except us.

     What the hell happened…to us?

     “It’s not my job”. “I can’t do that”. “Whaddaya expect, miracles”? “I don’t have a chance, they don’t like blacks/women/W.A.S.P.S./ fill in the blank”. “I’m insulted…5 million dollars a year? You think that’s all I’m worth? I’ll go to the Dodgers, they’ll pay me what I deserve!”

     Take your basic caveman, miner, shipbuilder, soldier, etc. Picture these words coming out of their mouths. Of course it’s ludicrous. Times have changed and with them values and expectations. Especially values.

     It was they who brought us here. The Founders. The fighters. Our soldiers and inventors, our farmers and miners, among others. It is their genius and dedication, hard work and perserverance that we should celebrate on the 4th of July. And every day.

     Could we have journeyed from neanderthal times to the moon with the current mindset? (“The world owes me, just for being alive”; there’s an 180 degree turnaround from reality, don’t you think?).

     “Who’s liable if I stub my toe or spill hot coffee on myself at a fast food restaurant? And who is going to pay for my contraception or abortion?"

     “It’s not my job”.

     There are entire groups and subgroups of people who now see themselves chiefly as victims. Probably some were.

     But it is for certain that they now are. Victims of believing those who enslave them by making them believe they are victims; and that there is nothing they can do about it except with others-read their- help. Perfect!

     A built-in, handy-dandy, self-perpetuating voting bloc. Self-perpetuating in that there is no way they can ever escape their present situation if they believe what these modern-day ‘liberal’ politicians tell them. 

     Life was never ‘fair’. Never will be, anywhere, anytime. It requires individuals with a work ethic, with individual beliefs and pride and thought.

     I care about people. Individuals. I don’t give a damn about races, groups, ‘classes’, etc. Each individual should be judged (gasp!) on their own merits. Any other approach, by definition, is racist, sexist or what-have-you.   I frankly dislike some African-Americans. Loathe a few women. Don’t much care for some Californians. Some white folks make me sick. Can’t stand a few men.

     But I love and cherish certain people. Black men and women. Whites. Asians, Mexicans, Italians…knowing them as individuals. I respect many more-of all walks of life-as individual human beings.

     What to be made of these ramblings?

     I care about this country (I realize I’m not the only one even among those who  disagree with me) and its amazing collection of individuals, past and present. Too much to see it stagnated and poisoned by group speak, by incredibly selfish ‘victimology’, by ‘moral terrorism’ (“I’m pure because I’m a victim, but what is that man doing?”). By the rigid, intolerant, politically-correct thinking dogma, by special-interest groups, by the hypocritical, frenzied orgy of litigation and by the “I don’t have to do it, it’s not my job” mode of thinking.

     “Four score and seven years ago,” spoke Lincoln at Gettysburg, “Our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure”.

     My friends, those ‘words’ still apply. They are more pertinent now than at any time since the civil war. I’d like to think I could make some small contribution towards seeing that, yes indeed, this proposition and this country do endure.

     And I would.

     But…it’s not my job.

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