Looking back at Independence Day, two weeks gone, and it occurred to me that nothing had changed. For the most part, and I say this with great sadness, America has a very short memory. On patriotic holidays we break out the flags and bunting, we have parades, we sing the patriotic songs…and then the next day arrives. There might be a stray TV commercial here and there, still spouting off about the car sales, or bargains at the supermarkets, but in the main, it was business as usual as far as patriotism was concerned.
Just suppose in 2014, we had to engage in the kind of conflict that we faced in 1941… could we do it? I honestly doubt that we could. Sure, we have great technology, but the generations coming after mine seem to be less and less interested in anything but what might affect them in their daily life. Sometimes, when they follow the latest goings-on of some foolish celebrity, or cease working to watch the latest sports event, it gives me a reason to think that my grandchildren will most likely grow up in a country that I wouldn’t recognize.
From where I sit, putting these words down into the computer, I can see a bookshelf packed with books that I’ve read, and many that I’ve yet to read. My buddies, the ones of my generation, send me books and I send them books, but my children do not read books. My grandchildren do not read books…at least not in a form that I might recognize. They have tablets, which are not really tablets by the way, because according to the dictionary, a tablet is a number of sheets of writing paper, business forms, etc., fastened together at the edge…a pad. They look at something called a Kindle, and that, according to the dictionary is to start a fire; cause a flame, blaze, etc. to begin burning…but to turn a page of paper, in a real book? Not happening.
To my mind there is an intentional dumbing-down of America. It’s a quiet, but effective, method of increasing the control of the population by the government…and if you don’t think that it’s happening, I feel sorry for you.
My friends call me…well, they call me a lot of things and some of them can’t be printed, but one of the tags that is put on me is that of pragmatic, and that’s a good one. Another one that fits me well is iconoclast. If there’s an apple cart that needs to be upset, I’ll be right there.
Maybe that’s why it irks me to see how quickly Americans forget. The collective memory was most active during World War Two, I think, but in the years following that and before Korea, we were content to grow fat and happy. Looking back, Americans were protected by an ocean on each end of the country, and so we began to think we were impervious to violence on our homeland. Looking back, to September 10th, 2001 we were naive and we still believed that America was as it was during WW2. Then, the next day, that all changed…and we can never look back the same way again.
It is my fervent hope that whatever you hear me say, or if you read what I write, that it will strike a nerve. It will propel you up off the couch and into the street…and you’ll yell at the top of your lungs, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Recently, and I don’t remember who said it, but it was said that the US Congress is like a potted plant, that’s how much action they are taking. Passive resistance is alright, when you’ve got all the time in the world, but this country is facing a definite down-turn, perhaps becoming a footnote in history–a noble experiment that didn’t last long enough.
Looking back to a time when a handshake was a contract, when what you said was what you meant, and there were no two ways about it: I’m no Pollyanna when it comes to this country–we’ve made mistakes, and we’ve paid for them, and corrected them and, hopefully, we don’t make the same ones again. The current president was, and is, a mistake that was made, but with all good intentions. We do not need to make another social experiment, no matter how good the intentions. Laws, regulations, ordinances–all have unintended consequences so the fewer of them that we allow, the better off we’ll be.
Just as it was proven to me in the Navy, so it is with politicians: if they don’t think of it, it cannot be a good idea. Even so, if they do think it’s a good idea, the person that thought of it probably will not get the credit. I’m not looking for any credit, but there are some good ideas that need to be put into use. Get the Congress to do their job, roust them out of their jobs, if need be, but make sure that We The People are in control. Look back–way back– to 1776, and if you don’t know what was done then, what was said then, you’re a bystander, not an activist. At the bottom of the Declaration Of Independence the men signed their names and pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
What have YOU done, today, for your country?