A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
With Memorial Day and the 4th of July (celebrated as Independence Day in the United States) fast approaching, scribes all over the nation are dutifully dipping their quills into their inkwells to scribble the obligatory few lines on the topic: “What America Means to me”, again this year, as in every year since, well, since 1776, I suppose.
But, I must confess, I am having difficulty this year. Each time I pull up to the keyboard, and type those few words, I have to confess, my eyes want to tear up and I get that lump in the throat that I used to associate with singing the national anthem and watching the flag march by, proudly held aloft by a veteran of the US Armed Forces. All of you Vets know exactly what I mean. It is a common trait among those of us who have worn our nation’s uniform.
Ah, but this year, this year, the would-be tears are not only for those who have paid the price of our freedom with their body and blood - and sometimes even their sanity, it is for what we, as Americans, as a nation, have lost in recent years.
Near the top of my list of things we Americans have lost is PRIDE. Pride at being an American. Pride that was earned - that was paid for by the men and women who went before me into the jaws of hell and back to free a people in a country the name of which we often could not even pronounce. It was pride earned because Americans were a people who would lend a hand to their fellow man, far away, who yearned to be free from a brutal dictator.
America used to be thought of as a “can-do” nation. It didn’t make a lot of difference what needed doing, America could, and would, do it. It never occurred to us we could fail. I mean, after all, we were AMERICANS! We DON’T FAIL!
It was confidence. Self-confidence, if you will. We were a nation of rugged individualists who did not rely on government for a damned thing. As a matter of fact, the less government we had - the better.
The nation, itself, was founded largely by the outcasts of other nations. Occasionally, other nations would send their criminals here as punishment. I know that is difficult to believe but it happened! They were people who had nothing to lose, with their backs against the wall they had one way to go and that was straight ahead - and the devil take the hind most! Those were the people who formed the bedrock foundation of the people the world would come to know simply as “AMERICANS.” Unique in the history of the planet - there had never been a nation made of people like those Americans. They were different. They knew it and they loved it.
They were a people who wanted their freedom - and so they took it – and they took it from a world superpower, no less. They created an experimental system of government called a constitutional representative republic and made it work! Some 80 years later they fell out, over state’s rights, and split into two separate countries and went to war against each other.
The War for Southern Independence was unlike anything the world had seen before and since. They went at killing each other with workman like precision. On more than one occasion soldiers would cheer and applaud the other side’s bravery in the midst of the battle! More Americans died in that war than in all the wars America has been involved in added together. Some say the way that war ended has much to do with where America finds herself today. I cannot disagree with that. As a result of that war’s ending we stand today as one nation containing two countries made up of 50 separate and sovereign states. At some point it is bound to unravel.
America’s downfall came quickly once it began in the early 1990’s.
I have concluded ignorance is the cause of America’s downfall. We Americans are, as a whole, stupid. We are the least educated, dumbest, society on earth. How else can you account for the people we elected to lead the nation? I mean… just LOOK at that bunch! Now… look at what they have done to the country in just the last few months! There is no easy way to say this – the election of Obama was a huge triumph for ignorance in America. If you STILL do not believe me, stick around for oh, a year, maybe eighteen months, or so, and watch what is going to happen and THEN tell me I am wrong.
Come on folks! Look at the fare on your TV. Most of it is insulting to anyone with a slightly above average IQ. You must understand the comprehension level of the average adult American today is around that of a third grader, or below. The people who produce the garbage on TV have to dumb it down so the average American can understand it! How else are they going to be able to sell it to the networks as vehicles for their commercials?
Our public school system (the government schools, as many now refer to them) is absolutely pathetic. It is a colossal failure. The curriculum has been dumbed down so that we are graduating kids who can barely function in a world that will surely pass them by. We know what is wrong with our schools and we know how to fix them - but we won’t. You must understand that for the government (we now have in America) to continue to control the reins of power they need MORE dumb Americans - not less. Our cookie-cutter schools are turning them out by the millions every year.
So, if you say America has passed her zenith, I certainly would not argue with you. Today’s America is but a caricature of the real America. And I really, really, miss America!
J. D. Longstreet