Let me tell you a story, a fairy tale of a once-great nation called America.
Once upon a time …
Once upon a time, we could send our children to school with the full expectation that they would receive a superb education. When my mother – who was raised dirt-poor in the bayous of Louisiana in the ’30s and ’40s – attended school, she emerged from the 12th grade fully educated to the level of many college graduates today.
Once upon a time, we let kids be kids according to their nature. Boys could roughhouse without criticism. Girls could play dolls without being told they “should” grow up to be doctors and lawyers because “they could be anything they wanted” (except, presumably, a housewife).
Once upon a time, we could teach our kids about the Second Amendment. Firearms were part of the cultural mentality (cops versus robbers, etc.), and no one thought we were breeding little psychopaths. Instead, we knew we were breeding future warriors and protectors.
Once upon a time, we could run a business with minimal governmental interference and bureaucratic red tape. “Some regulation is useful,” writes John Stossel. “But when we passively accept government regulation of everything, thinking we’re protecting people from evil corporations run amok, we’re really making life harder for ordinary people. Every profession, from cab driving to floral arrangement, is now burdened with complex rules.”
Once upon a time, a work ethic was expected and necessary. People didn’t have the “right” to be lazy and have others support them. If someone wanted to keep a job, he had to work hard rather than crying about some sort of “-ism” and suing the company.
Once upon a time, if we became sick, medical care was affordable because the government wasn’t interfering. But today, everything from Obamacare to the FDA has caused costs to skyrocket to the point where socialized medicine becomes a “logical solution” to an unnecessary problem. Our health care is about to become “the most unwieldy, frustrating, dysfunctional, inadequate, life-threatening, costly, infuriating health-care system,” in the words of one aggravated citizen.
Once upon a time, there was such a thing as free speech. Do you remember what it was like before political correctness metastasized into law? Do you remember the freedom of expression that was possible? Sometimes it was cruel, but that’s freedom. But nowadays we’re told that if we dislike devil’s food cake but enjoy angel food cake, it’s because we’re racist. There’s even a principal of a Portland K-8 school who claims – I’m serious – that eating or even talking about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is considered racist.
Once upon a time, parents taught their kids right from wrong. They used the Good Book as their moral compass and had no tolerance for moral relativism. ‘Nuff said.
Once upon a time, our expectations of luxury were simpler and therefore more affordable. It was not expected that people would saddle themselves with staggering debt to appear wealthy when they were not. Adult children looked at the middle-age comfort their parents had achieved through sheer hard work, and understood the only way to achieve that level was through – you guessed it – sheer hard work, rather than credit cards and other consumer debt.
Once upon a time, it was expected that men would be courteous to women, and women would be gracious and ladylike in kind. Men stood when a woman entered the room, took off their hats, opened doors and held chairs. Women thanked them.
Once upon a time, technology did not permit endless interconnectivity and instant communication that actually hampers people from having real (not cyber) relationships. If you wanted to talk with someone, you had to talk face-to-face or, at most, over the phone. People weren’t so absorbed with the mindless twaddle on their little handheld screens that they walked into walls and ditches. Today, some children actually need remedial education on how to interact with real people instead of machines. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology as much as the next girl, but at what cost?
Once upon a time, families were strong, and were encouraged to stay strong. Birth control wasn’t available to encourage women to rut like animals. Women weren’t rewarded for having babies out of wedlock, and men weren’t encouraged to abandon their kids. A real man was expected to control himself, lest he end up at the end of a shotgun marrying a young lady he had gotten into trouble. If an “accident” happened, the shamed girl was shipped off to relatives to discretely give birth, and the baby was put up for adoption (which is how we got my youngest brother). This societal shame kept premarital sexual behavior in check.
Once upon a time, this country was something to be proud of. Critics will tell me I’m viewing history through rose-colored glasses, that there were unspeakably horrible cases of racism, sexism and every other “-ism” that exists. And you know what? They’re right. But does that mean we should mock, ridicule and abandon the factors that did work to make our country great? Does that mean we should jeer at strong families or successful businesses or religious people? We’ve attempted to right those wrongs by swinging wildly in the other direction, to the point where we have a whole new set of wrongs that have developed.
You older folks know what I’m talking about. I’m 51, and I’ve lived through the transition period between what was and what is. And I don’t like where this fairy tale story is leading.
To those who think I’m exaggerating, consider Joseph Farah’s words: “Are your shackles being removed by Obama and company? Are you more or less free today than you were before the massive debt burden was placed on you and your descendants? Are you more of less prosperous? Ask yourself if government has been more empowered or less empowered by their actions? … Maybe most Americans don’t realize this simple equation: That when government gains power, the people lose liberty.”
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am eternally thankful that I was alive to witness a time when America was still great. I pray that our nation’s children can grow up to realize, and correct, where things went wrong.
A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to America.