Every day, in any given media outlet, someone will tell you who’s to blame for the sorry state of our country. Liberals will shout from the roof tops that the problem lies at the feet of conservatives who favored going to war with Iraq and in stripping away civil liberties. Conservatives will point their wagging fingers at liberals who, they claim, want to support those who refuse to work with your money and are actively seeking to destroy the American family.
Both are wrong. As a Libertarian, I have the good fortune to be able to look at both sides and recently I realized one very important thing. Both have completely lost sight of what has really happened in this country. The problem with America is, unfortunately, that it’s full of Americans.
When I was a kid, welfare was in full swing, but there was a stigma attached. You didn’t brag about your “check”. You hid that fact as best you could. People were shameful of a government handout. The disabled didn’t so much hide it, because often they couldn’t, and the retired didn’t because no one viewed Social Security as a hand out. They had paid into it after all.
The American family was going strong, despite the climbing divorce rate, because people looked at family as a constant. You entered into marriage with the intent, at least, of it being for a lifetime. You married, had kids, and lived a long life together.
What happened to those days?
The conservatives and the liberals will each blame the other for what has happened, but that’s not true. You see, the liberals and conservatives forget that they can only do what the people of this nation allow them to do, and they’ve been allowed plenty. I’ve heard some pretty ridiculous things out and about in this town, and so far few have seen anything to indicate that the problem is that the culture of America has shifted.
Americans of today are softer, more used to getting their way than ever before. With the comforts that exist is just about every home in this nation, it’s little surprise. They expect things to happen and they expect only good to come of life. When it doesn’t, it’s somebody’s fault.
Take, for example, the recent housing crisis. It’s so recent, it’s still going on. How many times did you hear “predatory lending practices”? Plenty, right? Now ask yourself this: who made those people take out loans for houses they knew they couldn’t afford? The answer is no one. They did that themselves, but as with most Americans these days, they want to blame someone else.
The answer to a lot of this nation’s problems aren’t political, they’re cultural. People have lost sight of what we once were as a nation. They forget that our heroes of yesteryear suffered mightily and that their suffering helped forge them into the nation we have today. From Washington at Valley Forge, to Davy Crockett at the Alamo. Men, and women, dealt with hardship stoically. They didn’t whine about how unfair it was or how it was someone else’s fault.
Our culture has lost that toughness it seems. Not completely, as was evidenced after 9/11, but a lot of it. If we don’t get it back soon though, we may just lose it forever. And that would be a loss of a national treasure that is beyond measure.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at SWGA Politics.com.
A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman.
Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and all around smart-elec.