Hello America

So… It’s the day after election day. In our usual messy way, we have chosen our President for the next four years, and a lot of people are very unhappy about it. I’m unhappy too, but not as irate as many, for the simple reason that my answer to our current situation was “none of the above.”

Here’s where I begin, and you can apply this thinking to almost anything I say on this site. The political process in America is completely out of control.

Whew! I feel better. You may not agree, but Romney didn’t stand for any real solution either. How the GOP managed to put up such a lousy candidate is beyond me. I listen to everyone yelling that Romney was the answer and I think back to six months ago when the entire conservative theme was “Anything but Romney,” and somehow he got the nomination. How? But, game over. That’s neither here nor there.

What I’m thinking about is rights, freedom, and liberty. If you are paying attention, you may have noticed that we are losing those precious things at a startling rate, and for me, Obama stands for the rapid degradation of our basic “American-ness.” I take it as a fundamental threat to our way of life. In order to get a bead on what we are losing, I’ll talk to my eight-year-old self.

I was in Mrs. Mosley’s class in 1976. Back then, we learned about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Who knows if kids still do? We even had to memorize parts of it. In our little elementary school in the rural outskirts of Nashville, we were in the thick of the Bicentennial celebrations. In between smacking my hand with a ruler for being left-handed, Mrs. Mosley rolled a TV into the classroom so that we could watch as many red-white and blue activities as possible. It was good to be an American, even with the dark echoes of Viet Nam, and the beginnings of signs announcing Georgia peanut farmers apologies for putting Carter in office. We understood what we were.

Of course, I was eight, so I was missing more than I understood, but even today, I can borrow that simple perspective, that white and shiny view of our future as Americans, as the greatest country on earth. That idea was only slightly diminished when I discovered that the Soviet Union was much bigger than us. Biggest is best, right? The point is that we seem to have lost that simple, common understanding of who we are. On my paranoid days, I believe that our identity is being systematically destroyed so that we can, in turn, go the way of the horse and carriage. On my mellower days, I think we have merely lost our way.

In either case, my thoughts for the future involve trying to recapture some of what we have lost before it’s gone. I welcome you to the discussion, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.