Usually, the nightmare is so bad that the sleeper wakes up – realizing with relief that it was a dream.

I wish that were the case now. It isn’t.

The nightmare that has ensued with the election of Barack Obama gets worse daily, and we’re awake, watching the growing destruction of our country.

Whether or not you “like” the United States, it’s the country that gives you the freedom to hate and destroy it. It also gives those who love the country the right to resist and make certain you don’t win this critical battle.

It is a battle. Those who want to maintain the stature and freedoms of this country will not give up – ever.

“Better red than dead” is not in their lexicon. It wasn’t 40 years ago, and still isn’t.

What you haters haven’t learned is that when you finally get what the Obamites have in store, you will not be free. You won’t even have the rights you now take for granted, and you will be a slave, no less than slaves in the antebellum South.

I grew up knowing the wall-divided Germany. It was the free West and the communist-slave East. The massive size of the Soviet Union, the power of its leaders and the massive size of its military – yes, I watched those May Day parades showing off military hardware – told me during my youth, they were here to stay. Germany would always be divided.

But I was wrong. Despite my history classes, which I now realize were massively deficient, I didn’t have any real understanding of how regimes are born, maintained and fall. The lessons of the past didn’t really impress me until I was an adult and paid attention to the reality of politics, the writings of conservative thinkers and the reality of my life.

I saw prosperity and poverty and had neighbors with concentration camp numbers tattooed on their arms. I saw people struggling to survive in a world that was neither generous nor friendly. You were on your own. Any success was the result of your own hard work.

It was a good lesson and has stood me well.

We weren’t rich but never were in need, nor would we ever think of taking handouts. If we couldn’t afford something, we did without until we could, or simply did without entirely.

For most of their lives, my parents were in business for themselves. They had successes and failures but kept working. Self-reliance is what it was about – and pride in one’s efforts and independence.

I learned that if you want/need something, work for it. I did, from an early age. I loved earning money to buy something I wanted. I liked that independence and freedom, then and now.

It was possible to earn money. You could be adventuresome and resourceful without the government at your back with rules and regulations. Big Brother hadn’t yet arrived.

Start a home business? Lemonade stand? Babysitting? Sure. No nonsense about business licenses.

Door-to-door sales? No problem. Now, it’s illegal. Even the fondly remembered Good Humor man, selling Dixie Cups and Creamsicles – whose bell drew kids from blocks around – is no more.

Also gone are door-to-door fruit and vegetable peddlers. We had a regular, peddler fish man. Mr. Yakubonis, a tall, husky, bald Russian who sold the best, fresh fish you could imagine – from the back of his truck.

They’re all gone. All illegal – including the chance for kids to make and sell things to neighbors, learning a work ethic and to relate effort with reward, work and money.

We’ve lost the freedom to be financially independent. Multiple laws make it almost impossible for kids to get after-school or summer jobs, assuming they want them.

Unfortunately, many parents are willing to shell out money, effectively ensuring their kids have no sense of what having a job entails. They want the goodies but don’t deserve or earn them.

I worked summers and after school ever since grade school to earn college money. Most of my friends did. Our goals involved independence.

In high school, one of the goals of the guys was to drive to Florida or California after graduation. It was freedom. Many did it!

After that, there was college or the military or business and for many, marriage. Our choice! We had freedom and no debts.

Compare that to teens today. It’s all pressure and debt and laws and regulations and government largesse. Not much effort; lots of goodies.

After college, grad school, work and marriage, I headed for California, too. It represented unlimited possibilities.

Everything we owned was in two old cars. We headed West – no savings, no insurance, no job, no place to stay other than a friends couch. And no fears.

Need a job? Interview and get one. Need a roof? Check the ads. Need wheels? Buy a car cheap. There was utmost freedom, and the future was an exciting challenge.

At least a dozen friends did the same, heading West, feeling secure. There were no guarantees, but we knew we’d make it. There was nothing to stop us. All those people built their lives and careers and did it independently.

But it’s changed. The country we took for granted is slipping away. Despite the Cold War, we knew our country was secure, strong and would protect us. That isn’t certain today as politicians caving to enemies and seeing no good in what our country represents.

Freedom of opportunity is virtually gone as the government takes over private sectors, regulations stifle innovation and unemployment surges.

Victor Davis Hanson said, “The dreams of a zealous few are at last becoming the nightmares of a complacent many.”

Those who voted for Obama are the “complacent many” – and we’re losing our country.

It is a nightmare. Ours.

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