This may all sound a bit hokey, perhaps corny and naive even, but I believe it to be real nevertheless.
When growing up in the 1940s and 1950s there was a sense of the greatness of America, something special, a can do, never lose attitude, maybe even a touch of arrogance. We were winners. We had come through the Great Depression; “won” WWII. The greatest generation was in full swing.
I don’t remember those events first hand; I was born in the middle of WWII. But I do remember the feelings about America by Americans. I also remember the shock Americans felt in 1957 when the Russians were the first in space and I remember what America did about it and a few years later John Kennedy’s challenge to Americans and watching it fulfilled in 1969.
I remember October 1962 and what President Kennedy did from a position of action and strength backing up diplomacy.
Back in those days we had a belief in America and Americans. Most Americans had a certain quality of “get er done.” We didn’t like to lose. The following best describes the qualities that prevailed in years gone by; the qualities that Americans admired.
“We are extremely proud of the brothers because of their grit, because of their persistence, because of their loyalty to conviction, because of their indefatigable industry, because of their hopefulness and above all, because of their sterling American quality of compelling success.” Dayton Herald 1908
Those boys, of course, were the Wright brothers. Read the David McCullough book so you understand what they endured and how they were assisted by very average Americans.
The Washington Post saw Wilbur as the personification of the Plymouth Rock spirit. The French had attributed “the grit and indomitable perseverance that characterize American efforts in every department of activity.”
What the hell has happened?
Today we are told and many believe there is no opportunity, things are unfair, the system is rigged, stacked against us. Do you seriously believe these times are harder than in the 19th century and most of the 20th? Do you think our obstacles are greater and our resources fewer?
They are not, the difference is within us.
The difference is what we are being told about America. When was the last time you heard any positive message? When did you last hear about America’s greatness or potential or anything uplifting? Instead you hear messages that divide us by income, race, gender and occupation.
We can’t even define success correctly anymore. There are those who define it as expanded SNAP, easier disability claims, higher tax credits, larger subsidies of one kind or another. Is that success? If it is it’s a strange type; a type that traps Americans and makes them dependent on the political class.
What’s real success? It seems to me that would be a steady decline and ultimately elimination of such programs because all Americans are uplifted. You don’t eliminate poverty through transfer payments, you eliminate poverty by truly creating the circumstances where incomes actually rise and the need for assistance disappears. Instead we set up programs where a rising income creates a net loss.
Where are we headed? More importantly, does anyone care? Surely not the Americans who see our salvation in rallying around a socialist 😢