“James…earn this. Earn it.”
Some of you will recognize these words as the final ones spoken by the fictional hero, Capt. John Miller to Pvt. James Ryan, in the movie, Saving Private Ryan. On this Memorial Day 2011, I rather like to think that Capt. Miller was speaking to all of us.
We don’t have to look very hard to find Capt. Millers in both word and deed throughout our history: Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Normandy, Inchon, Da Nang, and now Kandahar and Baghdad. On this Memorial Day weekend, as we honor the hundreds of thousands who died in the cause of our Freedom, should we ask ourselves instead, did we “earn it”. Are we “earning it?”.
Alexis de Tocqueville described America’s democracy as “the greatest political experiment in modern history”. As we look at ourselves today, are we still that democracy, or are we slowly heading toward becoming a democracy in name only. Are we in danger of losing that exceptionalism that has made us so uniquely American. Are the individual’s rights to life, liberty and most importantly, free speech, succumbing to the common good and political correctness. De Tocqueville also wrote,
“the American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
“democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
It’s only May 30, 2011, but already we are in the throes of the 2012 Presidential campaign. We’re facing problems as a country, our Founding Fathers would have been unable to grasp. No, not that our national debt is at $14 trillion and climbing, unemployment at 9.0%, the forthcoming socialization of our healthcare system, regulations strangling free enterprise, uncontrollable illegal immigration, nor even our involvement in ‘foreign wars.’ No, our Founding Fathers would be mortified at the utter foolishness of their countrymen. The age-old edict that is prevalent among many American social gatherings, “don’t talk politics or religion” is haunting us a nation, and propelling us down the pathway of no return. By not paying attention and becoming involved in the discourse, and electing responsible representatives and holding them accountable, we become responsible for our own plight and demise as a nation.
But now the criticality of the issues our country is facing is beginning to seep through the “American Idol” consciousness of more and more Americans. As terminology, such as “Medi-scare” and debt-ceiling enters the everyday lexicon, we understand in a more profound way the impact the 2012 Presidential election will have on our own future, but the future of our generations to come.
“James…earn this. Earn it.”
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