While I consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool red-blooded American — Mom, apple pie, the whole nine yards — I have a real concern for the direction of this country. Some recent observations intersected to one of those “ah-ha” times and became the seeds of this tirade. I have determined that America has become a bunch of pussies. Let me explain.
I posted on Monday that we visited the Frankfort Cemetery and walked among the gravestones. It was incredibly interesting to piece together the history, especially those families that were hit hard by losses from the wars of our history. There were family plots that had multiple young sons whose deceased dates were between 1941 and 1945 — probably sacrificing their lives in WWII. There were others from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, the War of 1812, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. The main veteran memorial at the cemetery listed all the known Kentuckians who had lost their lives fighting for what they believed in and protecting their country.
Now let me digress a moment to say that I fully support our current troops that are doing the same thing as you read this — fighting for what they believe in and protecting their country. (For a civilian view into the Iraqi war zone, see Christian’s blog.) We all tend to get caught up in our little lives letting things like screwed up drive-thru orders and cell phone drivers throw us into a tizzy. But most of us really don’t know what a bad day is. A bad day is losing your squad buddy to a sniper bullet or watching innocent children fall victim to a roadside bomb. Most of us really have no room to complain about our pathetic lives. My hats off to all current service men and women who are right now at this moment risking it all so I can sit here and type blather in my air conditioned house. Which is a good transition point.
While walking around the Frankfort Cemetery it was quite hot and humid. We’ve had a bout of very hot, humid and rainless weather for the last two weeks. The ground is hard and cracked. You can cut the air. The one or two showers we got Tuesday (the first in two weeks) didn’t help much to cool things off and only added to the thick humidity. Kentuckians have all been saying that we shouldn’t be getting this weather until August. Luckily, we have A/C and the pool to retreat to. But to look at some of those headstones, there were dates of late 1700′s and early 1800′s. Way before air conditioning had been invented. Before refrigerators, before many of the modern conveniences we take for granted every day. There were people here settling the countryside, not only at great personal inconvenience — lack of coolness, lack of heat, lack of motorized tools to til and harvest the land, lack of power tools to build a cabin — but they also risked their personal safety against hostile Indians and wildlife. These were very tough people and I don’t know if many around today would hack it in this hostile environment devoid of Starbucks.
The above realization that frontier life back then was very difficult merged with a headline I saw in the newspaper that morning about our involvement in Iraq. Rumsfeld was saying that it will take years to quell the insurgency and that threw many in a tizzy. Senators want a “safe” timetable of when we are pulling out, “is it all worth it?”, “why didn’t we plan better?”. This Monday morning quarterbacking was too much. Here, men (I use that word loosely) paid yearly by the taxpayers more than most people will make that year…..or the next few, sit in pinstripe suits in an air conditioned government building having been chauffeured there in a taxpayer paid limo peppering questions like the person asking a Trivial Pursuit question with the answers on the back. Do they read history? Like our history of standing up to tyrants? And winning? Like our history of rebuilding countries whose ass we kicked. I’m almost half inclined to let the United States kick my ass so I can then be rebuilt into an economic powerhouse like Japan, Germany or South Korea. How about our history of sticking with something one hundred percent until the mission is accomplished? WWII took almost 4 years of grueling conflict to win. And that was after 3 years of sideline support beforehand. Politicians want to point to Vietnam. But had we thrown our weight 100% behind that and not let the politicians draw lines and determine objectives, we’d have won that too (and Vietnam would be selling us good cars because we’d have rebuilt their country). Wars need to be run by military experts. Not politicians. Not the President. And certainly not public opinion. Because today’s public is more concerned (and educated) about their Starbucks latte than they are about international affairs.
Part of this is the MTV generation that has the micro-attention span. Couple that with the last several decades of instant gratification and you have a bunch of wishy-washy Me generation consumerist voters who waft at every political wind that blows. So few have the dedication, sacrifice and selflessness to do the right thing whether it comes to themselves, their family, their friends or their community. How, then, can we expect the best thing for our country? And then add in the political correctness movement just for good measure. “We don’t want to offend anyone”. “Everyone is the same” (not equal – there’s a difference). “It’s just easier to water everything down so as to not make waves”. I don’t pretend to have the answers. But I do know that while we might be the military and economic superpower, our people are getting soft inside. Whether it’s laziness, apathy, self-centeredness or ignorance, something has to change if we are to keep this country great. Because once the people go soft, the rest of the country is to follow. Our country is the sum of it’s people.
All I know is that while the early settlers who were the bedrock of this country did not have cars or electricity or running water or the internet or Happy Meals or power anything, they were strong as hell. If we had to fight a revolution with the general public and people we have today, we’d still be paying taxes to the queen and driving on the wrong side of the road.
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net