I have long held there are two Americas: the America of my youth, and the Amerika of my children. It’s a sad thought to acknowledge failure; that my children have inherited a world far worse than the one my parents gave to me. But it’s true. Anything less is denial at best or outright dishonesty at worst.
I recall with fondness growing up in the rural Midwest. I hunted. I fished. I played ball, cops and robbers, and cowboys and Indians. The hills were alive with the sound of music as Julie Andrews danced and twirled with a smile on her face. Along with my siblings, I also weeded and hoed the garden, milked the cow, gathered the eggs, and churned the butter. I remember every Sunday night watching a show called Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. My first crush was on a petite little girl named Tinkerbelle.
It was a far from perfect world (as I watched on television the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Race Riots of the sixties) but I always knew certain inalienable Truths:
1. My father was king.
2. My mother was queen.
3. God was watching me and told the king and queen everything I did.
As a child I didn’t really like the hierarchy of life. After all, I was at the bottom of the pecking order, and I did, from time to time, kick at the goads, trying desperately to take control. But it never worked. I swore that once I left my childhood home I would never again weed a garden. I would be my own man. I would be free.
I was wrong.
Today, by choice, I weed the garden, harvest the crops, and process any food that’s not nailed down. I want to be self-sufficient. I want to be independent. I want to feed my family, to take care of them, to educate them, and to teach them the ways of being a man. Just a few moments ago my 17-year-old son sent me an email complaining about his mother (that would be “The Queen”). In response, I (“The King”) sent him a short decree via royal email express.
Just be the best man you can be.
You hold the future of the world in your hand.
Fear God. Obey God. Serve your fellow man.
Service to others gives life meaning.
And then I politely reminded him to feed and water the chickens.
So that was the America of my youth.
But what about Amerika?
What inalienable Truths has Amerika passed on to our children?
1. My father is queen. He used to be king, but he exercised his freedom of choice and the government paid for his sex-change operation.
2. My mother is now king. (Father took the last train to the coast with his life-partner (Fred) as the back-up drummer in a small, but expressive, rock-n-roll band, thereby capitulating his traditional and God-given responsibility as protector and provider of the family.)
3. God has been replaced by “The Government” who is watching me via my cell phone, laptop or other electronic device. Drones are overhead and if I speak out against The Government I will lose my food stamps, Obamaphone, health and educational benefits and housing subsidy.
As I write, I am reminded of one of my favorite cartoons of my youth, the immortal Bugs Bunny. I recall one time he was fighting against Yosemite Sam who made the statement: “This town ain’t big enough fer the two of us!”
And I can’t help but think the same way about America vs. Amerika. There has to be a showdown. In order for one to live, the other must die. Right now, I’d say our country is split right down the middle. Half of us have been bought and paid for by the US Government. We sit on our collective lazy ass all day long eating free food, watching make-believe reality shows, googling, texting, sexting, surfing porn, FaceBooking and Tweeting. The other half of the country struggles to pay their bills, while working three jobs to also pay for the “free” stuff given to others and to raise children of their own with God-Family-Country values.
Something has to give.
Yosemite Sam was right. “This town ain’t big enough fer the two of us!”
When I think of Amerika, I’m reminded of another eloquent and insightful quote by Bugs Bunny from his 1949 short cartoon called Rebel Rabbit: “Could it be that I carried this thing too far?”
As I look around me at the state of our public schools, the bankruptcy of our cities, the moral decrepitude of our leaders, the erosion of personal freedom and the Godless attitude of our citizens, I lower my head and nod to Bugs.
“Eh, could be … could be.”
I never thought I’d be rooting for Yosemite Sam, but his words are appropo.
“This town ain’t big enough fer the two of us!”
Sorry, Amerika, but one of us has to die. And I’m voting to keep the America of my youth.
Image: M.Fitzsimmons; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license