Tag Archive | "America in decline"

V-J Day Plus 69: Reflections on the Decline of America

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August 14th, 2014, marks the 69th anniversary of V-J Day.  The date follows by eight days the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima and by five days that of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, bringing World War II to an abrupt end.  With the second “war to end all wars” successfully concluded, America displayed its generosity of spirit by rebuilding the homelands of our enemies.

 

69 years later, our enemies have assumed positions of power and influence in the global economy.  Japan, once considered a closed society driven by feudal warlords, has become an economic powerhouse.  In little more than half a century, its once ancient villages have become bustling metropolises.  Similarly, a reunited, resurgent Germany has become the economic linchpin and political leader of Western Europe and the European Union.  It makes one wonder who actually won World War II.

 

As cities and countries that our former enemies called home have flourished in the new global economy, American cities like Detroit have fallen into decay (the picture at the top of this article is not of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but a real picture of Detroit in 2014).  The industrial might of America, once the prime driver of a prosperous middle class, has been strangled by government intervention – killing the proverbial “golden goose” of the free market economy upon which our nation’s former prosperity was built.  Our two-party system has failed America miserably as personal greed and ideological obstinance on the part of both Democrats and Republicans has reduced our once proud republican form of government into just another spectator sport.  Statesmen have been replaced by buffoons at the expense of the American taxpayer.

 

Our Founding Fathers created three separate but equal branches of government so that any abuse of power by one would held in check by the others.  And, should the legislative and executive branches be monopolized by one political party, an independent judiciary could and would protect the freedoms on which our nation was founded.  Yet, as nominees for positions in the federal judiciary and on the U.S. Supreme Court have increasingly been selected more on the basis of political leanings than legal acumen, the independence of the American judiciary is also called into question.

 

In foreign affairs, America, considered by some as the world’s only military superpower, has become a shrinking violet and is in the process of unilaterally disarming despite increasing global threats posed by radical Islamic fundamentalists, totalitarian governments in China and South Korea, and a Russian leadership seemingly bent on the restoration of the old Soviet Union.  As the sun is setting on the generation responsible for America’s prominence in the aftermath of World War II, our society has largely forgotten their sacrifices, as commemorations of these historical events are replaced by trips to shopping malls to take advantage of deep discounts on retail merchandise.  Worship of the almighty dollar has displaced worship of the Almighty Himself!

 

In a radio broadcast following the Japanese surrender that ended World War II, General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Pacific Forces stated, “Today the guns are silent.  A great tragedy has ended.  A great victory has been won.  The skies no longer rain death – the seas bear only commerce.  Men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight.  The entire world is quietly at peace.  The holy mission has been completed.  And in reporting this to you, the people, I speak for the thousands of silent lips, forever stilled among the jungles and the beaches and in the deep waters of the Pacific which marked the way.  I speak for the unnamed brave millions homeward bound to take up the challenge of that future which they did so much to salvage from the brink of disaster.”  During that war, more than 400,000 Americans gave their lives in preserving the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as enumerated in our Declaration of Independence.

 

Reflecting on V-J Day, I cannot help but think of all the Americans who, from the inception of our nation, have laid down their lives for the preservation of freedom from Bunker Hill to Afghanistan.  And, as I ponder the current path of our nation in this new global society, all I can say is “what a waste of national wealth and human endeavor.”

Once Upon a Time in America

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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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