Follow That Dream

It was an Elvis Presley tune from 1962. Do we not all have a dream? Sitting here in my self-imposed Sunday afternoon exile, a time of solitude some call it, that is the question I contemplate.

Doctor Martin Luther King spoke famously about his heartfelt dream. Most of us will never be able to speak so eloquently of ours. He dreamed of Americans of all persuasions coming together in unity. Since he spoke of his hope, we have traveled the road toward our own hyphenated cultural enclaves. Sadly, it is a journey that has taken us farther away from rather than bringing us closer to his noble dream.

… when a dream is calling you,
There’s just one thing that you can do
Well, you gotta follow that dream wherever that dream may lead

What is the American dream? What is it these days other than an overused oratorical club with which politicians beat one another?

The American dream, from my humble perspective, is not so grand. Other than being a dream that built the world’s freest and most prosperous nation it is not overly complicated. I need only God’s help to achieve it.

My American dream is to live free. To pursue life. To be happy in a safe and secure country. To freely worship the God of my choice. To be free to speak my mind. To own property and a home. To raise a family and feel safe in that home. To fear God, but to stand in fear of no man, no government, and no country.

That may not be your view of the dream. Unlike politicians, I am unable to presume to know what most Americans want or believe. Of more concern to me is that what I view as the original dream has morphed into being something all together different. From the urban landscape of concrete gray to the vast uninhabited wilderness that makes up our country, the dream is changing. It is being let go. More precisely, people are letting it go or are being led away from it into believing they are entitled to the dream rather than having to work to achieve it – and keep it. Or, they are following the dream of another. One that is wholly not an American dream.

When our recent pioneer ancestors set out to build this country, was there any politician with a promise? Was there any government entity offering them anything or trying to convince them that they were entitled to something? The founders of our country broke the ties between an oppressive controlling government and liberty loving people. Self-serving and power seeking progressive politicians have been trying to take back that fought for freedom and expand the control of government ever since. They have worked tirelessly to replace a free and fiercely independent American spirit with a spirit of entitlement begetting dependence – on them.

If we are to pursue the original dream, what is it that stands in our way? First, I blame me. The individual American. The person looking back at me from the mirror. For it is what I allow to happen that becomes the standard. Generations from now, once free-spirited, Americans will be suffering because of what I allowed to happen -if there even remains a world entity known as the United States of America.

Most people are not leaders. They are followers. Because of that, we have followed politicians and their sycophantic minions toward our hyphenated existence. We have been led away from the American dream into pursuing one of Balkanization. Incessant pandering to whichever hyphenated interest group that may provide the additional few votes needed to place or keep career politicians in power is what has led us to where we are, which is the brink of our own self-destruction. That along with following a silly philosophy that says government, not free people, should be the benevolent givers of charity. It is a kind of controlling government that wants to make our personal decisions for us and become all things to all people.

Many Americans have worked hard throughout a lifetime to gain some portion of their dreams. There is fear growing in the segment of America that has worked the hardest to achieve what little they have managed to accumulate and who have sacrificed the most in our nation’s wars. It is a fear born of an awakening to the fact that our national wealth has been squandered. Squandered by men and women whose only contributions to our country have been corrupt lives as career politicians. It is the fear that in the blink of an eye and the stroke of a Washington fountain pen that all they have will be lost – taken and given to the collective for the greater good. What the government decides is the greater good. That fear is being covered with a growing anger – a simmering rage. The fear and anger can be sensed and felt if one but ventures out into his neighborhood. It is not what one should sense in America. The combination of the two emotions does not generally turn out well.

If things can improve, this means that there must be some absolute standard of good above and outside the cosmic process to which that process can approximate. There is no sense in talking of “becoming better” if better means simply “what we are becoming – it is like congratulating yourself on reaching your destination and defining destination as “the place you have reached.” – C. S. Lewis

God, I pray today that you will awaken the hearts and minds of the American people. I ask you to raise up Godly leaders to save this nation that you have so richly blessed. Amen.

©2010

.. and eat your doggoned peas too

Do you remember the stories about schools sending letters home to the parents of fat kids? Obviously humiliating children into pursuing svelte culturally acceptable physiques did not work. Now, there are people who believe that fat children should be taken from their homes and their parents and placed into foster care until such time as they become acceptably lean. I believe that our nation’s first lady should be the first foster mother. Her eating habits set such a fine example for our children. As the President reminded us, it is time to for us to eat our peas. Does a ShackBurger have peas on it? Just asking.

These save the children from obesity advocates insist that allowing one to become chubby is child abuse. I agree. We should force feed them raw vegetables. No, that may not work. Raw vegetables create an abundance of methane and we could accelerate global warming, unless of course Al Gore can invent an adolescent fart catcher. These advocates for children’s health are the same bunch who will scream to high heaven to preserve a woman’s “legal choice” to kill an unborn child, but damn her for allowing a live child to eat a cupcake.

Frankly, I think these actions are way past due. We must get control of these parents who continually abuse their children with their poor choices. A good place to start is taking children away from people who mark their poor defenseless tots for life by naming them things like Dweezil. We need to take those kids from their nutty parents and keep them in a foster home until they are old enough to legally file for a name change. We are sure to save them from a lifetime of agony and clinical depression. Remember what happened to Johnny Cash when his daddy named him Sue? “I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue.” If it was tough on Sue, can you imagine going through life being called a Dweezil? Yep, we must protect the children – it is off to foster care for Apple, Peaches Honeyblossom, Dixie Boo, Banjo…

But, let us not stop there. If parents smoke, legal smoking products that is, we should take away their children too. Children do imitate their parents and we must not let children learn how to smoke from watching their parents do it. Children should not be exposed to second hand smoke, unless it is of the medical variety particularly native to California. If they are in foster care, we can force them to look at pictures of people dying from respiratory illnesses and cancer. Oh, wait. Someone already had that idea.

Oh there is more. We should take defenseless children away from parents who give them Mohawk haircuts when they are three. Or who take pictures of them naked in the bathtub that can only ruin their lives posted on facebook when they are seventeen – or forty.

If your adolescent daughter hangs out at the mall, I mean literally hangs out, looking like a street hooker on the prowl; she should be in foster care. And her tattooed, eyebrow pierced brother with half his rear-end hanging out of his oversized jeans should be in there with her.

If a child comes to school and shares strange ideas with his schoolmates, like for instance Christianity or patriotism, straight to foster care. We cannot have parents radically indoctrinating their children with such crazy ideas. That is the job of the public school system, which also by the way has the opportunity to teach health and physical fitness. That is a nationwide failure that even the Atlanta school system cannot cover up.

Place aside the sarcasm for a moment. There once was a society that believed it could intercede where parents had failed. Its leader intended to build a perfect race starting with perfect children. Let us not start down that path, even as sincere as it might seem.

©2011

Land of the Free?

I live in the United States of America. I live in the country where people once came seeking refuge from oppressive governments, murderous thugs, and dictators, and to just have a chance to taste the freedom of which we boasted. Nothing feels like freedom. Nothing comforts the soul like the security of man protected God given freedom. At least that is what they once came here for. Now they come to bring to America their failed notions of how a society should be. Worse yet, they have found support for their endeavors in the highest offices of our land.

Most people I knew in the military and with whom I served looked upon service as more of an honor and privilege than a mere job or duty. We were protecting something worthy of the potential price one might have to pay. We were an apolitical bunch. Sadly, most of us did not even vote. Naively, we trusted the citizenry to protect freedom on the political front.

Soldiers know good leaders and they can pick out a bad one from well beyond his maximum effective range. The law of the land placed civilian leadership over us. That is as it should be in a free nation. We knew who set the national strategy from which the missions derived that eventually touched each individual Soldier and his family. We did not always like the direction, but we always adhered to our sworn oaths to obey the orders of the officers appointed over us. As long as they were legal orders, but when orders and missions seemed directionless and pointless, even the best of us internally questioned our commitment to them. That instills a dangerous sense of uncertainty- a questioning sense of uncertainty. That happens when the direction lacks clarity.

Clarity comes from leadership. A leader with clarity focuses down on what is critical and places the unnecessary aside for those times when life is a little less pressing and complicated. Leaders that, in the eyes of the led, lack clarity are motivated by things other than what the led see as the pressing issues – what should be the common focus. Because of their motivations, they are dishonest pretenders proclaiming one thing for the ears of the masses while pursuing ends that are in total opposition to the words that come out of their mouths.

In the United States of America, I should not find myself wondering if I have sufficient weapons in my home to protect my family and me or whether I need to arm myself outside my home so as not to become a victim of some half-raised and half-witted “flash mob”, but I do. In America, those kinds of concerns should not occupy space in our minds. I should not have to wonder if I have sufficient food and medical supplies stored in my home to survive for an extended period, but I do. I should not have to be concerned that the Washington ruling class will decide one day that it is necessary to take what I have earned and saved over my lifetime to provide food stamps, and five years worth of unemployment, and to pay mortgages of deadbeats, or to bail out communist led unions, but I do. I should not have to wonder how many Americans share my thoughts, but I do. When thoughts such as this own my solitude, is not freedom already lost? Freedom is imprinted on our hearts while we are still in our Mother’s womb. It is God given, remember? It is also a living state of mind. It is at the core of our national soul. People who know their freedom is guaranteed think and act much different from people who fear losing it.

Why do you think the United States of America is the strongest, most prosperous and most generous nation in the history of the world? Is it because we are smarter than everyone else? No, it is because God has blessed us.

We have reached our Romans 1 moment in history and in our national relationship with God. Our President has declared to the world that we are not a Christian nation. No matter that declaration, God will not abandon us. He will let us continue on our path to national self-destruction if that is what we choose. Or we may seek his blessing. We need a leader that is bold enough and one who has clarity of mind and the strength of heart to proclaim to Americans the direction in which our nation must turn. If we are given that clear choice in 2012 and we choose the path that we are on now, we are finished as a nation.

Freedom is not found elsewhere in this world. There is no place else for us to go.

©2012

Fundamental Restoration

When I was young, I did not have very much. My Father was a coal miner during times when the job was more dangerous than now and paid much less. We never had material wealth that is for certain. Still, I do not recall feeling poor or being told I was poor. I believe the reason for that lies in a time and world view much different from today’s.

I was encouraged by the adults I looked up to and especially by my school teachers. The running theme offered by each of them was that this is America and here you can be whatever you set your mind to be, but you have to work for it. Never once in my young life did someone suggest to me that it was somehow the fault of another, the straw man evil rich guy, that I was not wealthy. Instead, I was taught about abundance. I learned that there is plenty to go around and that I too could become wealthy, if I worked at it and if I made the right choices along the way. I was also taught that my freedom to choose my own path in this country was guaranteed. I was never taught that the government or anyone owed me anything or that my predicament in life was caused by another. In fact, it was quite the opposite that I learned and that has been reinforced to me over a lifetime. Work hard. Pursue the opportunities placed in your path and realize that God drew up the roadmap for your life, but it is up to you to follow it.

When I played little league baseball, not every boy played in every game. Actually, some boys never made the team their first try or even the second. The best players made the team and the best of them played in the games. The rest of us got splinters in our britches a ridin’ the pine. I certainly had my share of splinters, but it made me work harder to eventually earn my way off the bench and into the game- the key word being earned. It set the foundation for a good work ethic and built in me a competitive and winning spirit. There was no participation trophy. It also taught me that when you are old enough to finally play the game, you should not expect to play ahead of someone several years your senior in age and skill. This is a lesson that transfers to life, especially in a modern America where kids leaving school expect CEO salaries on intern responsibilities.

I can recall my early elementary school days beginning with the pledge of allegiance to our nation’s flag followed by singing the first verse of America.

My country,’ tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims’ pride,
from every mountainside let freedom ring!

I also recall being led in the Lord’s Prayer – inside the classroom by a teacher.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Hopefully, I have put the ACLU into collective convulsions with those shocking historic revelations. The religion of atheism was successful in removing the prayer. The impact of that is obvious. The pledge? Even if schools do it, the kids do not have to. I suppose there is no need for children learning to show reverence to the Creator from whom their freedom originates nor pledging allegiance to the only country on this earth founded on the principle of protecting each individual’s expression of his Creator endowed freedom.

It was that type of upbringing that founded and produced a Christian conservative nation no matter that modern day politicians and liberal academicians might have the audacity to hope that you will believe otherwise. It is a nation that is the freest, most prosperous and most generous in human history. We have really progressed over the years have we not? Children once taught to work hard and achieve are taught to be victims who are owed. Children once taught to revere God and our country are forbidden to talk with God while in their schoolhouses and they barely know our history. Presidents once spoke boldly and proudly of American Exceptionalism. Now they boast of fundamentally transforming it. Fundamental – the underlying principles and structure of our nation. What we need is a fundamental restoration.

May America Bless God on the Independence Day with a fundamental restoration to her Christian conservative roots.

©2011

Is the economy so complicated?

Is the economy so complicated that a gaggle of economists and politicians cannot figure it out? The Chairman of the Fed just told us he does not have a clue. I think he is right in that regard. Might I be so forward as to offer the perspective of a night school educated high school dropout with at least a half-dozen transcripts from different institutions of higher learning, none of which were Ivy League? Of course, there is also the perspective one gains when supporting himself from the age of 16 years young.

Here is the first point of understanding, for which one does not require Ivy League credentials to grasp. In my intellectual circle, we call this point a blinding flash of the obvious. A business, household or country that consistently spends more than it takes in fails. The money coming into a business must exceed the money that necessarily goes out (for those in Washington, this is called profit) before a business can expand. Businesses that commit future money into entities that provide no return on the investment and then borrow money against hope that they can meet those obligations rather than reality are re-named Government Motors. Additionally, businesses that must spend their profits for excessive taxation will see growth stifled and along with it any potential business expansion or job creation, which by the way is how wealth is truly spread. A household with an input of a tablespoon’s worth of income that consistently spends it by the shovel full will too collapse. We call this a housing crisis, which is the fault of the evil bankers who were forced by the government to give sub-prime mortgages to people who had no reasonable expectation of ever repaying them. After all, some people need a little boost if they are to realize the great American dream – even if it points us toward the great American nightmare. That is why nearly 50 percent of them have no skin in the game. They pay no taxes.

Hopefully, that was not too difficult for the Harvard educated to follow. Simple yes, but all things in life are driven by relatively simple and unchanging principles. The enduring principle here is that credit spending and borrowing and excessive taxation does not build wealth. That is especially so if the credit card holder lacks a conscience and there is no limit on the amount he can spend.

How does a country that is racing toward economic disaster right itself. First, the people who are systematically destroying our country must understand how a nation builds wealth and understand that it has nothing to do with anyone in a political office unless of course he is good at staying out of the way. If they are bent on our destruction, which it often appears is so, it is apparent they understand this quite well.

Let me give you the formula. It has worked for most of our nation’s history. It only falters when smarter people, self-infatuated smarter people, try to fundamentally transform it.

First, start with a free nation. A nation where men are considered to be created equal with certain unalienable rights endowed to them by their Creator among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For you Ivy Leaguers who just gasped, I swear I did not make that up.

Second, understand that the individual pursuit of wealth is one of those unalienable rights.

Third, understand that if one individual who is seeking wealth actually finds some measure of it he or she will, by their success, create wealth for others. If one should invent a snazzy little computer for which there is great desire, it will require a production facility, a distribution system, and stores in which to sell it… Wealth sought by one generates downstream wealth for many others. Nowadays, however, because of burdensome taxation and regulation and unions, that production facility will likely be located in China.

For most of its existence the whining classes have endeavored to label wealth seeking (also known as the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness) as greed and evil. This ideology brings about another enduring principle. Vilifying and subsequently punishing the goose for its success will not encourage it to produce more golden eggs.

Fourth, money invested in areas that do not produce wealth cannot produce wealth. Further, wealth taken from those who create it and given to those who did not earn it is redistribution of wealth not creation of it. That is not freedom. That is government sanctioned enslavement. Government does not produce wealth so when government grows well beyond what is necessary, supporting it drains the created wealth of the nation proportionately. For certain, there are functions of government that are necessary and that must be paid for by the citizenry through reasonable taxation – defense, police and fire, and infrastructure are among them. Using the wealth created by citizens of the republic to build monuments across the country named for politicians is not among those necessary functions of government. Neither are unnecessary government agencies.

Fifth, a nation should not transfer wealth to other nations for what it could, and for its own well-being should, necessarily produce at home. One word, energy.

Now that was not too complicated. Was it?

© 2011

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