“They say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, “Dan’l Webster-Dan’l Web- ster!” the ground’ll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And after a while you’ll hear a deep voice saying, “Neighbor, how stands the Union?” Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible, or he’s liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, that’s what I was told when I was a youngster,” The Devil and Daniel Webster by Stephen Vincent Benet
If Daniel Webster were to ask you today, “Neighbor, how stands the Union?” What would be your answer? The Fourth of July gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the state of our union. If we were honest, our answer would not only make Daniel Webster come back from the dead, but our forefathers as well.
Since my last posting, this nation has been shocked and surprised to find out that our government is more interested in spying on us instead of our enemies. What is surprising is that the American public’s response appears to be apathetic-“This is what we expect of our government, why bother getting angry or upset?” This apathetic attitude is the root cause of why the state of our union is terrible. There are three ways that this attitude is expressed.
The first way it is expressed is that we are ignorant of our own history and government. How many times have you seen Jay Leno’s man on the street segment? He asks the person a simple history question and that person is way off in their answer. (i.e. Question: “Who is the Father of our Country?” Answer: Barack Obama). It would be funny if the numbers of people who give silly answers are in the minority.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Consistently year in and year out, high school and college graduates fail to answer a majority of questions concerning their history and government. Keep in mind that these are questions that a resident alien would need to answer correctly if they are to become citizens. Here’s a scarier thought, this is our future generation. This is where our next leaders will come from. We are the most ignorant of our freedoms in this age of knowledge.
The second way this attitude is expressed itself is found in our tolerance of mediocrity and disregard by our leaders. Recently, Politico ran a story in which members of Congress and their staff are contemplating retirement? Why? Because they could not afford the healthcare coverage once the healthcare changes come into effect. One of the biggest ironies of the Obamacare vote is that Congress did not exempt itself from the changes. Instead of taking the time to read and debate the bill, Congress passed a heavy burden onto the American people.
Chief Justice Roberts was right in one aspect of the court’s decision regarding Obamacare. That was a political question and the voters bear the ultimate responsibility of those who they elect to Congress. But it is not only in the Congress, where we see mediocre leadership. We see it in our President during the sequestration and in his tone deaf policy in the areas of the economy, immigration, climate change, gun control, and in our foreign relations. What we have in Washington is a leaderless country. Where the ethic is “What can I do for myself, rather what can I do for my country?” This is not just a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. It is our problem.
The third and final way this apathy is expressed is in our willingness to be sacrifice and be patient in the fight. There was a great energy and fire when the tea party movement started in 2010. Right now, there are few places where that fire is still burning. The question that I have is whether or not those activists have the desire to fight when they are as Thomas Paine writes, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Will they continue to fight or will they sit out because their ideal candidate did not win the primary?
When asked after the Constitutional convention what kind of government we have Ben Franklin remarked, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Do we have the character to fight for the ideals of liberty? Are going to tolerate leaders who are creating classes with no opportunity to advancement? Are we going to fight for our freedoms by becoming better educated not only of the issues but not tolerate what is called as civil discourse in this country?
What say ye?