Internal Rot

By J. D. Pendry

“America will never be destroyed from the outside.  If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”  Abraham Lincoln

Occasionally, I look back through the Bunker archives to see what I was on my mind back then.  The archives are a journal of sorts.  Sometimes I’m surprised when something I wrote 15 years ago is as relevant today, or maybe even more so, than it was originally.  In 2005, I wrote Internal Rot for JD’s Bunker, the ancestor of American Journal.  Relevant today?  You decide.

I was passing a semi pulling tandem trailers when I clawed at the CD button to switch off the screeching talk radio.  The cab of my pick-up truck filled with Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.  Yes Beethoven!  You gotta a problem with that!?  In my rearview mirror, I saw a woman yakking on a cell phone.  She was following me so close that I could not see the headlights on her minivan.  After passing the semi, I flipped on my right turn signal indicator.  The semi driver blinked his headlights at me and I started to drift back into the slow lane.  Before I completed the lane change, Ms. mini-van was half a truck length past me.  She glared, a furrowed brow showing above her designer sunglasses and appeared to mouth something about my dear departed mother.  A Kerry/Edwards campaign sticker adorned the back window of her van.  Tailgating her was a bright red pick-up truck with a “W-04” sticker in the window.  Just as close behind him was an irritable looking driver, with a 10 O’clock 2 O’clock white knuckled grip on the steering wheel of a small SUV.  The bumper sticker proclaimed, “Jesus is my copilot.”  He’d be safer riding with me I thought.  Concluding that 3 of 5 rush hour drivers belong in an insane asylum, I slouched and focused on the music.

A friend of mine, and my historical authority of choice sent me an email about one of my recent columns.  His lesson for me was that throughout human history great societies have fallen because they first destroyed themselves from within.  Internal rot is the descriptive term he used adding that when the failing society is at its lowest point, outside forces will end it.

My commute and screeching talk radio illustrate where we are.  We’ve lost civility and are so intent on demonizing one another for our beliefs that we can’t focus on our roots or a common purpose – freedom and securing our country for example.  If you still have a 2004 Presidential campaign sticker on your car, you are part of the problem.  You’re trapping us in time, keeping us hostage to emotions and diverting us from important issues – sounds like a politician’s resume doesn’t it.  And, if your copilot is supposed to put you above the fray, your actions should demonstrate that you are.

The most basic leadership principle is being the example.  The led reflect the example of the leaders.  My drive home shows Americans following the example of those we elected to Congress to lead us, bolstered by senseless and endless Red State, Blue State political polls and media nonsense – liberal and conservative alike.  A look at the 911 hearings, steroid follies and recent cabinet confirmation hearings should be enough to convince anyone that the most destructive combination in America is an egomaniacal politician and a television camera.  It’s more obvious each day that you and I – Mr. and Ms. liberal Democrat, conservative Republican and proclaimed Independent – have elected and sent to Washington a collection of people not concerned about the problems facing our country.  Their concern instead is power at all costs.  When political leaders focus more on obtaining power and destroying political opposition than they do solving problems – which seems to be the focus of our currently non-functioning political system – the result is political rot.  We are watching the decay of what is supposed to be the world’s greatest representative republic.

Moral relativism has saturated our society.  Many believe there are no absolutes when it comes to right or wrong.  They see behavior in shades of gray in conflict with others who view behavioral absolutes of black and white.  The chasm between the two grows.  Many manmade laws of our country are a product of moral relativism.  They contradict the Judeo-Christian values on which our country was founded and often the laws of nature itself.

Moral relativism is why we are not raising our children properly.  Recent examples of out of control children and adolescents in schools demonstrate that.  We pump our kids up with MTV and junk food then try to calm them with Prozac and Ritalin.  We send them to school dressed as thugs and prostitutes.  We connect their brain housing groups to MP3 players and cell phones.  We baby sit them in Internet chat rooms.  They don’t know math, science, history or current events.  Is this how we prepare them to confront the most complicated and dangerous world in human history – and to preserve our country?  More likely, we are preparing them to accept what follows the rot.

We have the power to fix what is wrong – you and I.  We can lop off rotten limbs and cauterize wounds, but once the roots of our way of life – our political system, our morality and how we raise our children – begin to rot, we might consider how soon we’ll need to start learning Chinese.

© 2005 J. D. Pendry   All Rights Reserved  Email JD: jd@jdpendry.com

3 thoughts on “Internal Rot”

  1. There’s so little common sense left in our society. “They [rules] are a substitute for rational thought.” Admiral H.G. Rickover

    Rules and laws often tell us we cannot rationally think for ourselves (because so many can’t!) , and often replace common sense and “rational thought” with illogical bureaucracy, in the name of “what’s best for all.” Scary. Alicia, good comment.

  2. I too feel the plight of our young people because I serve in public schools. The changes that have influenced our schools are the laws that tie educators for disciplining the students, force them to accept disrespect and allow parents to manage the schools. Example: Parents purchase high-end electronics, fight to change laws so their students can bring them to school, the disrupt the learning environment, yet the schools cannot touch the device (unless they-the teacher-wants to be financially responsible). The parent can come on school property curse out the teacher for any reason and a teacher has to withstand the verbal abuse or be reprimanded by higher-ups. The people we elected put all these petty laws in place with the hope that the parent would participate in the educational process, hold the school system responsible for educating their students and give them a voice. Instead, they created policies that have ruined the education system, caused a shortage of educators and crippled many universities with educational programs because no one wants to be a teacher. So for me, an educator, my thoughts are keep your students plugged up, dressed inappropriately, and dumb, so they can live with you forever.

  3. As usual, this is on the mark, JD. You are absolutely right about this post still being appropriate for today’s culture. The internal rot will be this country’s downfall. The example that pops into my mind is Slick Willy and his shenanigans in the White House with his favorite intern. That scar on our government was one more straw on the proverbial camel. He brought down the nation’s standard of morality in one well-publicized swoop. The shades of gray are flaunted daily, and our next generation will find it difficult to determine wrong from right, with no reliable standard and too minimal parenting.

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