What has become of America ? I don’t know about all of you, but I know there are people out there that grew up in the same times as did I .
I grew up in the sixties and seventies , got married in the eighties , started raising my daughter in the nineties. I remember an America where anything was possible through hard work and determination. Where as kids we were told that we should not ask what our country could do for us , but what we could do for our country.
Don’t get me wrong I know for example that the sixties were turbulent times. We had the war in Vietnam, we were in a cold war with the Soviet Union. I can remember duck and cover drills in school. We had riots in the streets of America , we had visions of the war in Vietnam coming right into our living rooms.
The seventies weren’t much better . Drug use was rampant in the schools, trust me I know. We saw the first oil embargos which sent not just oil prices through the roof but also inflation. We saw people taken hostage by hijackers,and we saw American citizens taken hostage right inside our own embassy.
The eighties saw a growth of prosperity, though as a result, a whole generation became known as the “me generation”. During the eighties we started to see a trend towards a political division that deepened with every election. I believe it was in the eighties that we began to see the beginnings of a class warfare in America.
Little changed in the nineties, it seemed that nothing could stop the economic growth that we were experiencing.
During these decades of change we suffered many trying times , and challenges from within and from without. We were attacked and we often attacked each other. But through it all there was always a sense of America. There was always that feeling that no matter what we had each others back as Americans.
This I believe came from the fact that we shared in the belief that we were part of the greatest nation on the face of the earth. That we shared common goals and dreams. That we all believed that we could achieve the ” American Dream”, and that dream was whatever we wanted it to be.
For the most part we didn’t feel that one person had to sacrifice their dream so that we could achieve ours. In other words there was an unlimited number of dreams out there just waiting to be dreamed.
So what has happened here in this , the greatest nation on the face of the earth?
Well , though it may have already been in the process before, after 9/11 this nation has not been the same.
Some will naturally blame this change on the way Pres. Bush handled the crisis in the days and years following that tragic event. Some will blame those on the left that seemed to not support the nation in its war on terror. Clearly those who perpetrated the attack deserve most of the blame.
But when I look around I see a cultural shift , I see the class war being expanded. I see leaders who are telling some of our citizens that they have somehow been cheated out of the American dream. These same leaders are telling us that , yes after all , some of us are expected to sacrifice a part of ,or all of our dream , so that someone else can have it. They are telling us that there are only just so many dreams to be had.
These leaders are going even farther , and telling us exactly what it is we are expected to dream. That part of the dream is health care , not by choice but by mandate. They dare to tell us that our dream car must not exceed a certain size, that our dream home must not exceed a certain square footage. They tell us that we must not earn over a certain amount , or it somehow robs another of their chance . These leaders promise to take care of our every need , whether we have asked them to or not. They tell us that our father’s dream of success should not be ours, they tell us that our fathers were greedy and selfish.
These leaders tell us that they will somehow guarantee equal prosperity for all, when all we have ever wanted was an equal chance for prosperity.
Are these leaders souly to blame? No ! The true blame for this cultural shift lies directly at the feet of every voter who chooses to vote for leaders of this type. Voters who sell their dearest right, the right to vote. Voters who do not take the time to read and watch, who follow the instructions of either the media or some party leadership. Voters who actually sell their vote to the highest bidder, the candidate who promises to bring back tax dollars that were stolen from the voters in the first place, or like in Detroit , where money is being handed directly to citizens who did not earn it.
Every time we vote for this type of candidate we weaken the nation and we weaken our culture. When we are willing to cast an uninformed vote, or a vote that we slavishly cast by order of some party leadership, or if we cast it for purely selfish reasons, then we have wasted our right to vote.
Until we break the cycle of voters such as this, until we educate our young voters as to the seriousness of the act of voting, and until we somehow instill once again in the American psyche , the sense that we as a whole are only as strong as each individual and that there is an unlimited number of dreams to be dreamed , until that time we are doomed to continue to elect these weak leaders who do not lead , but merely pander to the voter’s most base desires.
If we are ever going to find better leaders , then we must first look within ourselves and ask , what is my dream and how can ” I ” achieve it.