Once Upon a Time in America

Posted on 05 January 2014


On July 4, 1776, the United States of America declared its independence from England.  Born as a Republic exempt of royalty and bound by its Constitution, this new nation would be destined to become a world power.  No longer would there be taxation without representation, religious persecution, and disregard of the legal rights of the individual.  Citizens were protected from an intrusive, overreaching government by a Bill of Rights and were recognized as having equality of opportunity.  Personal privacy was valued and personal initiative rewarded.


But that was, as the Native Americans would say, “many moons ago.”  To be exact, it was 238 years ago.  During that time, the American odyssey has had a transformative effect on the world – leading an industrial revolution, ushering in the Space Age, and defending freedom from oppression and tyranny.  Shaping the uniquely American spirit and perspective have been the realization of a Manifest Destiny to expand the nation’s borders from sea to shining sea, a bloody Civil War, two World Wars, the Roaring 20s, a Great Depression, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Great Society, the start of a new millennium, and a war on terrorism following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.


It is said that “wisdom comes with age,” but that old adage doesn’t seem to apply to United States of America.  Over the last half century, we have witnessed time-tested rules bent and broken.  The America of today would be barely recognizable to George Washington and the members of the Continental Congress.  We are witnessing the return of royalty in our government.  Our elected officials wear the crowns of Kings and bear titles like Dukes and Earls.  Mandates are enacted instead of laws, including 141 new regulations in the first three days of 2014 alone!  Religious persecution has reared its ugly head in the guise of political correctness.  The will of the people is being ignored, and the privacy of citizens is under attack as electronic surveillance techniques have been deployed on a scale unimaginable to our Founding Fathers.


The American dream has become a nightmare.  As our middle class shrinks and corporations built on American ingenuity and largesse outsource jobs to other parts of the world, the land of opportunity is rapidly becoming a caste system.  Once the shining light of the world, the land of the free and home of the brave, and a place like no other on the face of the earth, the United States is slipping and sliding from it vaunted heights into a place among the morass of Third World nations.  As creeping federalism impinges upon the rights of our states, can we still consider ourselves a Republic?  Or, are those residing in less populous states becoming victims of the tyranny of the majority?


Our beloved, late President Ronald Reagan summarized our current plight best when he stated, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”  If we don’t change direction and quickly, it may become difficult to even imagine what it was like once upon a time in America.


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