Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Happened to America's Spirit?

Today I was speaking with a colleague about the decline of our society, namely the lack of morals, responsibility, hard work, and self reliance.  We both agreed that much of what made this country great is being lost.  By no means do I mean that all Americans have lost these qualities, but way too many have, enough to put us in deep danger.  In the past, when faced with great turmoil, whether economic, political, or foreign, we responded with an incredible will power to overcome.

One need only peruse the headlines to see how far we have fallen.  It has been reported that government handouts (welfare) now exceed our tax revenue.  Many call President Bush a mass murderer because he sent several thousand American service men to pointless deaths.  Everyday children are aborted for no other reason than the inconvenience they may cause or to eliminate the responsibility of a person's actions.  Students are passed along from one grade to the next despite their poor performance to avoid hurting their feelings or to prevent them from falling behind their peers.  People lived beyond their means and bought McMansions that they could never hope to pay for.  And now, two years into his Presidency, President Obama continues to blame President Bush for the mess he inherited instead of taking responsibility for his ill advised decisions or lack thereof.

What happened to our spirit?

What happened to the willingness to fight and die for the freedoms we have?  Today our military is all volunteer, and these individuals should be respected by all of us who are safe and free.

What if we needed more volunteers to fight for just the idea of freedom?  Would we get enough willing to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds, a better trained and supplied enemy, and the bitter winter of Valley Forge?

What if we needed a draft?  Would we be able to build an army on par with that which braved the heat of summer campaigns, hundreds of miles of marching, lines of enemy soldiers mere yards away, hand to hand combat, frequent amputations, and hundreds of thousands of dead all to preserve the Union and free their fellow man?  Would we get one willing to go to foreign lands and fight the tyrannical evil of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany?  Would we get one willing to fight tooth and nail with an enemy crazed with determination to to the death for every last inch of sandy volcanic beach and tropical island?

We might.  But would the public support them?  Or would they abandon them and their leaders and scoff at their sacrifice, unable to stomach the valiant death of a few thousand?

What if we were attacked like we were at Pearl Harbor?  Would our national unity and fury drive us through four years of terrible sacrifice and conflict? 

But wait, what about 9/11?  Did the nation unify?  Yes it did, but how long did it last?  How committed are we to fighting terrorism?  How complacent have we become again already?  How seriously do we consider the possibility of another attack?

What about the economic turmoil we are in?  We have been here before, though with far less debt.  However, would our unemployed today be willing to blast rock and build dams?  Would they be willing to plant hundreds of thousands of trees just to draw a wage?  Or would they just prefer to sit at home, collect a government check, and blame the rest of the world for their problems?

When faced with seemingly impossible challenges we have risen to the occasion and achieved what seemed impossible.  If faced with a rival super power, China perhaps?  Could we outlast them and not compromise the ideals that our nation stand for?  Or have the lines between democratic capitalism and socialism been too blurred by decades of social welfare programs?

If our President vowed that we would land on the moon in less than a decade, something never even approached in prior history, would we indeed be able to work toward and achieve that goal?

If we had nothing, if we have to start from scratch, would we achieve the American dream?  Would we be like millions of immigrants who came to America and achieved the American dream through hard work and dedication and love for their new freedom and opportunity?  Or would we demand others speak our language, provide us with jobs, provide us with housing, provide us with healthcare, and provide us our citizenship?

What happened to our morality?  Can you walk down the street without hearing profanities?  Can you watch television with your family without worrying about what they might see or hear in a mere half an hour?  How full are our churches?  Does the statement "In God We Trust", on our currency, have any meaning anymore?  But then again, who needs God to provide for you when the government can do the same?

Facing all that we do today, do we have the will power to overcome?  Do we have the mindset to endure and see ourselves through these tough times?  Do we have the faith and morals to avoid a collapse into chaotic anarchy?  I can honestly say I fear we do not.  However, our nation has always risen to tackle the new challenges it has faced.  Perhaps we have not yet grasped the situation and it is only a matter of time until we do.  We can hope, we can have faith, that when we do, we will overcome.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why the Title?

I am a huge Pink Floyd fan, and though clearly written many decades ago and having nothing to do with current politics, the first couple of stanzas from the song Sheep from their 1977 album Animals is a good analogy for the masses in our current times.  In fact, according to The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd by Toby Manning, Roger Waters actually wrote the song to express his distaste for the masses and their seeming stupidity.  So take a look and see what you think...

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You'd better watch out!
There may be dogs about
I looked over Jordan, and I've seen
Things are not what they seem.

That's what you get for pretending the danger's not real.

Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is not a bad dream.

There you have it, the inspiration for the title of this blog!

*Note  The rest of the album Animals is similarly dark in its commentary on human nature.  Perhaps at another time I will take a closer look at the remaining songs, Dogs & Pigs (Three Different Ones).*

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just for Fun - 2010 NFL Predictions

Here are my predictions for the 2010 NFL Season.  You may ridicule me after the season is over.

First Round Bye     Wild Card

AFC East                                                                         AFC North                                                  
New York Jets: 11-5                                                        Baltimore Ravens: 13-3
New England Patriots: 9-7                                                Cincinnati Bengals: 9-7
Miami Dolphins: 8-8                                                         Pittsburgh Steelers: 8-8
Buffalo Bills: 4-12                                                             Cleveland Browns: 6-10

AFC West                                                                       AFC South                                                   
San Diego Chargers: 12-4                                                Indianapolis Colts: 11-5
Denver Broncos: 8-8                                                        Houston Texans: 8-8
Kansas City Chiefs: 7-9                                                    Tennessee Titans: 7-9
Oakland Raiders: 4-12                                                     Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-11

NFC East                                                                        NFC North                                                   
Dallas Cowboys: 10-6                                                     Green Bay Packers: 14-2
New York Giants: 8-8                                                     Minnesota Vikings: 11-5
Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9                                                   Chicago Bears: 8-8
Washington Redskins: 6-10                                             Detroit Lions: 2-14

NFC West                                                                      NFC South                                                     
San Francisco 49rs: 11-5                                                 New Orleans Saints: 13-3
Seattle Seahawks: 7-9                                                     Atlanta Falcons: 9-7
Arizona Cardinals: 5-11                                                   Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 7-9
St. Louis Rams: 4-12                                                       Carolina Panthers: 5-11

AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens over San Diego Chargers
NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers over Dallas Cowboys

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS: Green Bay Packers over Baltimore Ravens