How is your hyphenated identity these days? Some, at least those who constantly prattle on about it, long ago left America. From many comes one? Instead, from one we have become a hodge-podge of many identities. Each vying for prominence ahead of Americanism. Each demanding what is owed it.
The great melting pot brewed a special blend of people. They made up a strong nation able to defeat powerful enemies to preserve freedom and achieve greatness in things that other nations barely dream of achieving. It was a great nation able to overcome its own shortcomings, but now it is filled with hate-mongers who refuse to leave the past. Not much different in that regard from the Islamists who still want to kill Christians because of the Crusades.
The melting pot tipped over. Out spilled its separate, but formerly well-blended ingredients that now threaten to smother the fire of freedom. Each component of the American stew it seems now expects special treatment because of who they view themselves to be – something other than American. They have simply forgotten that it is because of America that they have the precious freedom to express themselves openly without fear of oppression.
Instead of looking at ourselves as Americans, we preface our identities with our ancestral nation of origin, our race, our religion and even our sexual lifestyle choice. Each identity demanding what it is owed – by America.
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the owed mentality. There are many Americans like me. In my youth, economically, I was among the poorest of the poor. All I ever did in the land of opportunity was work. I was earning money when I was fourteen years-old going door to door selling newspaper subscriptions. When I was sixteen, I went to work full time in a factory. When I was eighteen I enlisted into the Army. On a personal level, no one owes me a doggoned thing. Nothing! God blessed me with birth in this nation and because of that I was able to better my lot in life. He placed me here and gave me the freedom to choose my path, preferably the one He placed before me. I am where I am because of the choices I made in this life, not because someone else made choices for me or gave me preferential treatment.
What I am owed is what each American is owed.
I am owed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I am owed a government led by honorable people who will staunchly defend my freedom and the Constitution that sets the foundation for our representative republic and guarantees my freedom.
I am owed an equal chance and not a guarantee of an equal outcome.
I am owed a government ran by servants of the people who come, serve, and then go back home. Not those who come, stay, and believe that it is they who should be served by me.
I am owed a government that will not squander our national wealth on crony influenced boondoggles.
I am owed a justice system that blindly delivers justice.
I am owed a government that does not meddle in my personal life. A government that knows it has more important work than deciding my food choices, soft drink size and health care choices.
I am owed a government that places the security of our nation above politics.
That is not a long list of what I am owed and on Election Day I stand ready to collect.
Our choice is a simple one. We can right the American stew pot and become once again a nation of All-Americans or we can continue on the pity-party you owe me path to utopian hell and the destruction of the greatest nation God ever allowed to exist.
God blessed us. May we not squander his blessings?
President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Bob Dylan. He also gave one to Delores Heurta, a Hugo Chavez toady and Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. Ms. Huerta is on tape proclaiming that Republicans hate Latinos. An old protest singer and a de facto communist receive the highest man-produced honor bestowed upon civilians in our country. Well why the heck not? I am just curious why Ellen or Rosie O’Donnell did not get one for all of their “civil” rights work.
“I remember in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up because he captured something that — about this country that was so vital.” – President Barack Obama
I am at a stage in my relationship with the leader of the free world where I am unable to take these snippets of his life as factual. It is like the grand slam homerun I hit in Little League baseball. Fantasy. Just between you and me, I have a hard time mentally connecting Barack Obama with Dylan music. But, I could be wrong. He swears to have found Jesus in Jeremiah Wright’s church house. If that is so, why would Bob Dylan’s music not have opened up his world?
There is the commie link in Dylan’s tribute “Song to Woody.” There could be some connection there. The President besides being one has surrounded himself with many communist utopian thinkers.
Hey Woody Guthrie but I know that you know
All the things that I’m saying and a many times more
I’m singing you the song but I can’t you sing enough
‘Cause there’s not many men that’ve done the things that you’ve done.
Then there is that drug thing he talked about in his memoir and the revelations of his school daze “Choom Gang” (pot smoking gang) in the forth coming book “Barack Obama: The Story.”
“Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.” Describing his drug use in “Dreams from My Father”
We may have stumbled upon the Dylan-Obama life connection. One is left but to wonder if it was the Dylan music or the mind expanding drugs that opened up young Barack’s world to what about this country was so vital. Can you not envision Bob and Barry hanging out together? Maybe doing some doobies in the Oval Office or taking a psychedelic midnight stroll through the Whitehouse rose garden and suddenly breaking out in a duet of “Cocaine Blues.”
You take Sally, an’ I’ll take Sue,
Ain’t nah difference between the two.
Cocaine all around my brain.
Hey baby, you better come here quick,
This old cocaine ‘bout to make me sick.
Cocaine all around my brain.
I am now looking forward to the President’s next college campus campaign speech.
Just imagine the President and Dylan on stage together. Both with flattop guitars and harmonicas in neck holders. See the haze from the pot smoke? The President speaks about the unfairness of having to pay back ones student loans and declares that he will cut enough out of the defense budget to forgive all of them – keeping just enough for the drone fleet. Reminding all of the future draft dodgers that we do not need much of a defense budget because he has ended all of our unnecessary wars. Then as the sound of the crowd nears a roaring crescendo, Barry and Bob break out into raucous rendition of “Everybody Must Get Stoned.” Accompanied by Ray-Ban sunglasses wearing Slick Willie on the sax with Hillary singing along while downing Bourbon shooters. And there stands Old Joe Plugs strumming on his banjo and yelling “stand up Chuck.” Is not campus life good?
Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone
But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned
I am not sure that I recognize my country in its present state. Sometimes though, down deep inside, you know that the promised change is finally coming. It is not the change of promise-maker. It is real change. In Dylan’s words, “The Times They Are A-Changin.”
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
When I was a child growing up in the hollows of West Virginia coal country, we still called it Decoration Day. It was the day set aside to visit and decorate the graves of those who gave their lives in our nation’s wars. The guardians of our freedom rest in cemeteries across our land, at the places where they stood final muster in foreign lands, and some rest in places known only to God. Now we call it Memorial Day and sadly, most of our children neither know nor are taught about the significance of it and to countless more, it is just the first long weekend of summer.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)
Our country is a very special place. It is so, because at its very beginning we acknowledged that our cherished freedom is a gift of God. Whenever called, there have always been men and women ready to stand between us and those who would smother freedom’s light. They go, confront our enemies and more than a million of them have died so that you and I can sit on the patio on a sunny afternoon in May sipping cool drinks, eating hotdogs and watching millionaires race cars. Do we not owe them more than that? Men and women of valor died for us and we reward ourselves with a holiday.
In his Word War I poem, In Flanders Fields, Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, concluded with this as the voice of the fallen:
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies blow
In Flanders fields.
Each of us must ask the person in the mirror if we caught the torch, and if so, do we hold it high? Have we broken the faith with those who died?
I do not know if you have ever visited a Veteran’s cemetery. When you see those stones sitting row on row, from your heart can you utter a thank you with assurance that you have the torch – freedom’s torch? Or, was your duty fulfilled when you visited a gravesite, publicly bowed your head and then went to the season’s first cook out.
I do not want to detract from the importance of this time with my cynicism, but an old trusted Soldier told me once that sometimes your words must hit the recipient in the head as if they were delivered by a two by four, otherwise he may not get the message.
Our cemeteries are filled with those who, for us, defeated Japanese Imperialism, Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism (NAZI) and fought Communists directly in Korea and Vietnam and for the past decade Radical Islamists. When they passed us the torch, I believe we took it to the mall.
As I scan the battlefield, I see communists at the highest levels of our government. They do not call themselves that and spineless politicians who fear being beaten with a McCarthy bat will not call them that either, but they are there. It is documented that members of the Muslim Brotherhood are in top positions in the State Department, the Whitehouse, Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Add to that, anti-Soldier, anti-Americans like Bomber Bill Ayers have influence at the highest level. We have not taken the torch and many souls on this day must be asking why did you send me?
Millions have died preserving freedom. Sadly, the rest of us appear determined to give it away.
We shall not sleep, though poppies blow
In Flanders fields.
This is not the America I know or the America I grew up in and these are not American values. We must take back America. Is that rhetoric beginning to wear on you some? It is me.
From politicians and pundits and from all political compass points the goal must be to put forth a version of America and a set of values that Americans accept or identify with. They all begin their declarations with statements such as most Americans accept or most Americans believe. Depends on which one polled the best I suppose. What they are really putting forth is what they desire for most Americans to accept or believe and the truth be known they accept as truth little of what comes from their own mouths.
It is merely empty rhetoric that fills the substance devoid dead air that permeates American political speak. Who knows the America that I know? Who can describe the America that I grew up in if he or she was not standing beside me while I was doing that growing up? What are American values? With our national drive to hyphenate the American identity might purely American values no longer be identifiable? What truly shaped the American identity? From whom exactly must we take back America? Maybe this is just a bit too much of a challenge for a Sunday afternoon. But what the heck.
The America I grew up in no longer exists, but I have never left it. All Americans still live in the America they grew up in, whatever that is and wherever it was. For America to continue, we must find some commonality. I assure you that in future decades, should I be fortunate to have a couple more, I will not describe today as the good ole days.
I am the son of a depression era World War II veteran and a Coal Miner. Not an easy life that. Following Church service today, I visited the graves of him and my Mother. My Mom, a Mother of five, was a country gal herself, married at fifteen. From my Dad, I learned that no one owed me. For a day’s pay, I should have to provide a day’s work. I started that when I was sixteen. From Mom, I learned the importance of holding a family together. Something she did well.
I remember school days that started with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, followed by singing the first verse of “My Country, Tis of Thee.” Are you ready for this? Following that, the Lord’s Prayer led by a teacher. As liberal heads explode across the land, we also learned early about our history, our exceptional country and the evils of communism. What else? If we got too far out of line, our teacher or the Principal would introduce our rear ends to the Board of Education. None of that was good so we tossed it all away. According to the Supreme Court, God had to leave the classroom. He could not even stand in the corner. Spankings in schools, horrors! And who needs all of that hokey red, white and blue sweet land of liberty stuff? Really.
We had to try out to make a sports team. If we did not make it, we tried harder the next time. We did not hold it against the people who were better than us. We knew that if we wanted it bad enough and worked hard enough, we would make the team. Little boys did not play sports with little girls and there were no self-esteem participation trophies. If you stunk up the ball park, you were not rewarded for sucking at a sport. Rewards came for accomplishment. That also applied to school work.
You will pardon my language here, but I have actually been talked down to by the sophisticated about my “country assed” attitude. Has anyone ever told you that you were too honest? Honesty must not be a big attribute these days, especially if the truth might not serve to advance your position in life. I learned other things as a youngster. Men did not use impolite language in the presence of ladies, now many of the ladies out cuss the men. Without a hint of blushing. I learned that it was polite to open a door for a woman and to let the lady go first. Now some appear offended if I do that, but not most. I learned that serving my country in the Armed Forces was expected and good.
I grew up watching television programs where parents did not have to worry about flurries of profanity being hurled at their children. I remember programs like The Rifleman, where the good guy always won, the son always learned a valuable lesson and the Holy Bible was always present on the table and often read – shockingly – right on the screen. There was Hoppy, Roy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Poncho and Cisco. Comedy was the Three Stooges and not an unending string of vulgarities. Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, Ozzie and Harriet, it was all about family. It was not Will and Grace. We actually had variety shows with singing and dancing and an occasional comedy skit. None of it was sponsored by sex performance drugs. I know, I know, it was an insane time for America.
We liked muscle cars with big engines and loud pipes. The machine was more important that the stereo. AM radio and top 40 rock and roll got the job done. Having grease under your finger nails and skinned up knuckles from a slipping wrench were badges of honor. We still had trouble with gas money, even at 30 cents a gallon.
We also had our version of the occupy Wall Street maggots. They called themselves Students for a Democratic Society and spawned the likes of the Weather Underground and much of today’s Washington. Actually, it is just one big maggot circle when you ponder it because the SDS hippies are the father of the OWS. That was a part of my America too.
Hey, maybe my America does have something in common with yours.