Meditations on America as we go into the Fourth of July . . . S.L.
I've known guys who grew up on Mom, Apple Pie and the Fourth of July - if you cut them they bleed red, white and blue - I'm not one of them. I wish I was, but I've always felt a bit out of place here in my adopted country. I love NFL football even though I only understand about 50% of what's happening when I watch it. I love the American "Can-Do" spirit and the American dream, most of all I love America The Idea.
America The Idea is the concept that each person is a free individual with unalienable rights, as described in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. See this piece of paper, Mister President? This is where your power stops and my rights begin.
This is American Exceptionalism. No other country on the face of the Earth has such a charter. The UK comes close but they lack fundamental freedoms we take for granted. We are the exception to the rule.
It is not by accident that America became the Superpower. There are several countries with as much land and resources as ours, even more so. Why is not Russia a Superpower, or China? What about Africa - why is there not a United States of Africa? With their natural resources, geographic location surrounded by water and almost unlimited manpower the Africans should rule the world. One thing makes America stand out and drives our system to the top: American Exceptionalism.
The Idea is open to everyone in the world, because every human being on the planet has a burning desire to be free - it is as instinctive and natural as air, water, food and shelter. We didn't invent The Idea - it goes all the way back to Aristotle in Ancient Greece - but our Founding Fathers brought it as close to perfection as is humanly possible. The Idea is basically our guaranteed-in-writing individual right to The Pursuit of Happiness.
I love America. Most of all I love the freedom I enjoy here and the almost unlimited opportunity this country offers - all you have to do is want something bad enough and be willing to work hard for it and you can be whoever you want to be, have whatever you want - it is all within all of ours reach.
But nowadays fundamental American values are being torn down more and more every week to the point it seems we don't have too many American values left to lose. I love America and I don't want to lose her. It's not too late for America - it's never too late. We can do it. We can be great again. I saw it done before - after the turmoil of the Seventies - and I was a part of it. I was a part of Reagan's Army.
We can do it again. It's going to take a lot of sweat, toil, pain and tears but we can make America great again. It might take ten years, it might take a hundred, but it is worth it. No matter what it takes, its a million times better than holding our grandkids on our knees and hear them ask, "Tell us about when America was the Superpower, Grandpa. Tell us what happened, Grandpa?"
Oh my God, how I dread the day I have to answer that question . . .
I've been very upset for a long time, more and more these days. Nowadays I cling to the hope that, despite everything that is going wrong with our country, the underlying spirit that is America will stir in people and overcome all the idiocy that plagues us at the moment.
There is an underlying spirit in the people of America. It will rise to the surface again, you cannot quash something like that with petty laws and bureaucracy . . .
I didn't do it for the money because I could have made a hundred times more on the outside, and I didn't do it for glory. Quite honestly, at first I signed up for the adventure - its in my blood - then I stayed in and made soldiering my profession. Somewhere along the line it became a calling.
This Iraq thing is what's snapping my head around. I saw firsthand the results of America turning its back on our allies in Southeast Asia and now I'm seeing it again in the Middle East. America retreating on all fronts, and our enemies gaining ground. Just like the late Seventies when the Soviets were snapping up countries left and right, and our policy was "détente" - which means there's nothing we can do about it so lets just learn to live with each other.
Operation Urgent Fury - the liberation of Grenada - was the turning point of the Cold War.
But I was a part of the rebuilding of America as a Superpower - if it wasn't for Ronald Reagan's leadership there'd be a lot more oppression in this world and a lot less freedom and prosperity.
Now I know why I'm here. Now I know my mission in Life. We can make America great again and we will, and I am going to do everything I can in my power to drive it.
"Pro Patria est . . ."