This I Believe

James - McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 26, 2006

The question posed… Are you proud to be an American?

I’ve given this lots of thought and here’s what I’ve found.

I’m not proud. As much because of whom I’ve become as what this nation’s become.

For a way different collection of reasons than most folks, I’m embarassed by what our nation has become–and mildly afraid of what it will be in a decade…

The reasons cross all lines–hence my declared inability to affiliate with a party.

I don’t like the cultural cess pool we are and hate where it’s heading.

I don’t like how hard it is to get any assistance in trying to change the system to empower the poor (“teach and inspire them to fish”) or even help them (“give them a fish”).

I don’t like that I know no group of Christians as seemingly unChristlike as the general body of our Christians (with some glaring, heroic, inspiring exceptions of course.)

I don’t like how many of our parents glue their kids to the electronic teat or video games and expect them to raise themselves.

I don’t like that I find Spin magazine more offensive than informative just over the past five issues.

I don’t like fools talking, but I hate them being shouted down.

I don’t like how many armchair philosophers claim all the answers while they collect more dust than a dugout.

I don’t like that Lee Atwater’s political campaigning became our standard instead of a disgusting footnote.

I’m disgusted by how many parents tell me that their kids “never behave” when they never do a thing to teach them discipline.

I don’t like how we harken back to great leaders (JFK, FDR, Reagan, Lincoln, Washington, Madison, Jefferson) while we’re too blind to see that none of them (as they were) could win their party’s primary today.

I don’t like our technology outpacing our reason or our etiquette.

I don’t like that our most quoted, emphatic national sayings “We hold these truths to be self evident…” “Give me liberty…” “The only thing we have to fear…” “Ask not what your country can do…” and on and on–sayings that became famous not simply on eloquence but on merit–ring empty in our pragmatic, selfserving day.

I do feel blessed and privileged to do the work I do here without persecution and I’m in love with this place and its people–and I’m here to do my part…

But proud? In the words of my old Sgt Cale… “Negatory”.