My America Your America

This is not the America I know or the America I grew up in and these are not American values. We must take back America. Is that rhetoric beginning to wear on you some? It is me.

From politicians and pundits and from all political compass points the goal must be to put forth a version of America and a set of values that Americans accept or identify with. They all begin their declarations with statements such as most Americans accept or most Americans believe. Depends on which one polled the best I suppose. What they are really putting forth is what they desire for most Americans to accept or believe and the truth be known they accept as truth little of what comes from their own mouths.

It is merely empty rhetoric that fills the substance devoid dead air that permeates American political speak. Who knows the America that I know? Who can describe the America that I grew up in if he or she was not standing beside me while I was doing that growing up? What are American values? With our national drive to hyphenate the American identity might purely American values no longer be identifiable? What truly shaped the American identity? From whom exactly must we take back America? Maybe this is just a bit too much of a challenge for a Sunday afternoon. But what the heck.

The America I grew up in no longer exists, but I have never left it. All Americans still live in the America they grew up in, whatever that is and wherever it was. For America to continue, we must find some commonality. I assure you that in future decades, should I be fortunate to have a couple more, I will not describe today as the good ole days.

I am the son of a depression era World War II veteran and a Coal Miner. Not an easy life that. Following Church service today, I visited the graves of him and my Mother. My Mom, a Mother of five, was a country gal herself, married at fifteen. From my Dad, I learned that no one owed me. For a day’s pay, I should have to provide a day’s work. I started that when I was sixteen. From Mom, I learned the importance of holding a family together. Something she did well.

I remember school days that started with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, followed by singing the first verse of “My Country, Tis of Thee.” Are you ready for this? Following that, the Lord’s Prayer led by a teacher. As liberal heads explode across the land, we also learned early about our history, our exceptional country and the evils of communism. What else? If we got too far out of line, our teacher or the Principal would introduce our rear ends to the Board of Education. None of that was good so we tossed it all away. According to the Supreme Court, God had to leave the classroom. He could not even stand in the corner. Spankings in schools, horrors! And who needs all of that hokey red, white and blue sweet land of liberty stuff? Really.

We had to try out to make a sports team. If we did not make it, we tried harder the next time. We did not hold it against the people who were better than us. We knew that if we wanted it bad enough and worked hard enough, we would make the team. Little boys did not play sports with little girls and there were no self-esteem participation trophies. If you stunk up the ball park, you were not rewarded for sucking at a sport. Rewards came for accomplishment. That also applied to school work.

You will pardon my language here, but I have actually been talked down to by the sophisticated about my “country assed” attitude. Has anyone ever told you that you were too honest? Honesty must not be a big attribute these days, especially if the truth might not serve to advance your position in life. I learned other things as a youngster. Men did not use impolite language in the presence of ladies, now many of the ladies out cuss the men. Without a hint of blushing. I learned that it was polite to open a door for a woman and to let the lady go first. Now some appear offended if I do that, but not most. I learned that serving my country in the Armed Forces was expected and good.

I grew up watching television programs where parents did not have to worry about flurries of profanity being hurled at their children. I remember programs like The Rifleman, where the good guy always won, the son always learned a valuable lesson and the Holy Bible was always present on the table and often read – shockingly – right on the screen. There was Hoppy, Roy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, Poncho and Cisco. Comedy was the Three Stooges and not an unending string of vulgarities. Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, Ozzie and Harriet, it was all about family. It was not Will and Grace. We actually had variety shows with singing and dancing and an occasional comedy skit. None of it was sponsored by sex performance drugs. I know, I know, it was an insane time for America.

We liked muscle cars with big engines and loud pipes. The machine was more important that the stereo. AM radio and top 40 rock and roll got the job done. Having grease under your finger nails and skinned up knuckles from a slipping wrench were badges of honor. We still had trouble with gas money, even at 30 cents a gallon.

We also had our version of the occupy Wall Street maggots. They called themselves Students for a Democratic Society and spawned the likes of the Weather Underground and much of today’s Washington. Actually, it is just one big maggot circle when you ponder it because the SDS hippies are the father of the OWS. That was a part of my America too.

Hey, maybe my America does have something in common with yours.


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