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I remember being in San Pedro, California, with Capt. Jacques Cousteau waiting to board a boat to Catalina Island. He was holding one of his programs there, and we were surrounded by the several hundred people who would be participating.

There was excitement in the air that beautiful day with everyone looking forward to the week we’d spend with the legendary Cousteau and his crew.

The boat operator had some kind of schedule and boarding snafu, so we all had to wait with no instructions as to how and where to board.

There were lines painted on the floor of the building we were in, and there were arrows painted on them indicating they were the lines people should use.

I watched in fascination as people, rather than waiting in random groups or waiting for instructions, just lined up on the painted lines.

Unfortunately, those people were not where they needed to be to board the boat when it was time to leave.

I commented on that to Captain Cousteau, noting that the people just lined up all on their own, and stood there – waiting!

His response caught me by surprise: “That’s so much like Americans. They’re just like sheep – lining up even when they don’t have to.”

I was surprised at first, but then on reflection I realized he was right.

We were, and are, a nation of sheep. It’s much easier for us to follow the leader rather then think for ourselves and take a different and perhaps better path.

Following other people blindly relieves us of the need to think for ourselves, ask questions, challenge the status quo and perhaps, in the end, arrive at a solution that’s better for all concerned.

Maybe it comes from how we’re schooled: Sit down class, keep quiet class, open your book class, do the lesson, etc, etc.

In other words, do what teacher says and don’t question or argue.

People of other nationalities tend to be more demonstrative and feisty.

Italians talk with their hands and love to argue. I can say that; I’m part Italian.

The Spanish are the same. Yeah, I have Spaniards in the family, too.

The French are generally argumentative. I can say that; I have French in my family.

And don’t even mention the Germans and the Irish. Yeah, my family has them, too.

In all, we’re a mix of many; yet we’re all Americans – whether by choice or birth. While we may have the cultural and emotional tendencies of the mother country, we all come together under the stars and stripes.

If you ever needed proof positive of the sheep tendency of Americans, look at today’s political situation.

You don’t need to look or listen only to conservative media. Just scan newspaper headlines or local TV and radio news.

Our country is faced with, and in the midst of, a slew of scandals that under normal political circumstances would rip a government apart.

There are people who claim – and perhaps rightly so – that we’re on a fast track to being a banana republic.

There’s so much going wrong on every level of government from the Oval Office on down, it’s surprising we haven’t slipped on that banana peel already.

And that’s where our “sheep-ee-ness” comes in.

If we were a banana republic – given the scandals, the mistakes, the corruption and lies, the economic disasters and the crippling international relations all leading to the just-below-the-radar anger of the population – we would already be in the midst of an all-out revolt with street rioting.

But we’re not, perhaps because of our Puritan ethic – essentially don’t rock the boat, but in reality, it’s more than that.

We have a president who is impotent to make any definitive impression on national or international politics.

Yet he thinks he’s the coolest cat ever and can do whatever, whenever, and those who don’t agree be damned.

Face it: He said he has “a phone and a pen,” and he fully believes that so armed, he can do what he pleases.

Judging by the reaction of Congress – nothing – and of the Senate – nothing, he’s right. And the people, the sheep, just accept it.

Perhaps it’s because school trained them to behave or because they don’t want to be labeled racist. People just don’t push back even in the face of wrong or even illegal actions.

There’s no doubt that if anyone disagrees with Barack Obama, it’s assumed it’s only because of his skin color and has nothing to do with the logic or correctness of his decisions and actions.

So Obama does what he wills, gets us in difficult international situations, antagonizes our allies, appeases our enemies (even as he refuses to identify our enemies), devises policies that are destroying our economy and keeps moving like a freight train to thoroughly destroy our unique American culture by destroying our borders and flooding the country with illegal aliens, who he demands we treat better than our own American poor.

So far, the American sheep are taking it – but there’s change in the wind, and the downing of that plane in Ukraine won’t affect it.

Americans are beginning to say no to the dumping of hundreds of illegals in their towns. They’re starting to say no and mean it.

The guy in the White House may be shocked at what he’s unleashed with his heavy-handed actions.

I can only hope.

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