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August 22, 2018

The Making of a Country

Patricia A. Kelly

As we in the United States attempt to re-write our history and focus on the “blame” game, we risk losing ourselves to an all-encompassing state.


Liberals, especially the new wave of democratic socialists, focus on individual suffering, personal abuses, both past and present, proposing to solve these problems by enlarging government. This proposed enlargement, in their view, would provide for us, serving the poor, the disenfranchised, illegal immigrants, women, etc. It’s important to them that everyone receive their idea of protection, income, proper health care, and regulation of individual behavior.


Unfortunately, this would come at great cost, increasing taxes enormously, and dramatically decreasing personal freedom.


A grandchild, educated in public school, recently said to me: “Capitalism is a problem.”


My facial muscles struggling mightily, I remained silent. She’s a teenager, complete with the idealism, rage and passion of her age, normal, and reflecting some “political correctness” at school.


She hit me with the question: “Do you know, Nana, that you have two bisexual grandchildren?”


My answer, “How do you know,” was so much better than some of my thoughts. Her response to that question left me wondering if she even quite understands what attraction is.


In this world of social upheaval, marked by widespread effort to upturn traditional beliefs, trying to figure things out must be excruciating. Thank goodness teens have the buffer of endless energy, overconfidence, and certainty of immortality to support them through this time.


We redefine history, in public discourse and in our schools, where everything from the motives of our Founding Fathers to our history as a country is questioned.


Did our Founding Fathers create our country to increase their own power, or to achieve financial gain? Did we give smallpox to the Native Americans, steal their land, allow slavery, over-hunt and decimate wildlife populations on purpose because we are bad?


Of course not. We, in the context of the rest of the world at that time, believed Native Americans belonged on a different plane than Caucasian immigrants. Our view of slavery coincided with the views of most of the world, including those of the Africans who sold them in the first place.


Context is everything.


In the world of the nascent United States of America, populated largely by people escaping oppression at home, it was considered perfectly all right to populate and control an “undeveloped” land, and our forefathers, while at first accidentally and then purposely fighting native Americans, simultaneously created something unique and remarkable, a society where people were free to live by their own values and efforts.


The government was designed to not only allow representation of the ordinary people, but also to provide them the right to protect themselves from the government itself. An amazing concept, it worked, and created one of the strongest nations on earth.


We’ve had our bad moments as a society, but again taken in the context of the behavior of the rest of the world of the time, we’ve been remarkably nice guys. We stopped drawing and quartering people almost right away. We fought off, as an infant country, oppressors who wished to rule us. It was a fight, but we ended slavery.


Our treatment of people of color has been an up and down fight, but most now get that people should be accepted as people – black, brown, white, gay, transgender, etc.


Discrimination, in the past, a defense against being attacked by strangers, no longer serves us, but deeply ingrained beliefs are slow to change. We’re coming along, though. Our melting pot of a country continues to blend as it moves forward.


Our country is so good we’ve even been kind to vanquished enemies, our rebuilding of Europe and the Philippines serving as good examples.


The gift of representative government allows us, as constituents, to make choices that can make things better. We can vote. We can avoid buying processed food. We can choose our health practices and practitioners. We can boycott. We can patronize Chick-fil-A.


Last night at dinner, another grandchild, when encouraged to use good manners, replied that she knew how, but chose not to. Oh, kids! Oh, those who say America was never great. We were, and we are.


Let’s just embrace that, hang on to our core values and our pride, and move forward, a thoughtful step at a time.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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