What has happened to our patriotic side? Our love of this great nation, that has brought prosperity to so many?
Recently, I was discussing the differences between the World Wars and Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
During the big war, gasoline was rationed, food was rationed, men, and boys, lined up at recruiting stations willing to leave home and family to go “over there” and fight. Those of us left at home did all we could to support them, we bought war bonds, we donated time and money to the USO, we did what we could to support the war effort. Sure, there were probably anti-war people around back then, but they were not as well pronounced as they are today. Stop and think about it...once we went to war, the automobile factories retooled, and started putting together tanks, and armored vehicles to send “over there”. I wasn’t around during the war, but I well remember the late 40s, when automobiles came in the basic color of white, black or green: the period of retooling to put together automobiles, rather than military vehicles.
So, again, the question being asked is “why the difference?”
An important factor, that I believe gets overlooked has to do with our collective mindset. Back during the time of WWI, many of the people living in this country, were relatively recently arrived here. They carried the memory of life in Europe, under oppressive gummints that wanted to run everybody’s life. Think of the immigrant, who was poor in Europe, and was not able to get ahead because of onerous taxation; he/she travels to the “new world” where they are able to start a business, and earn more than a living. They are able to keep the money they work for and earn, whether working for someone else or for themselves. To these people, the threat of a screaming dictator from Europe declaring war against the rest of the world, was a reminder of what they had to give up, to go back to that way of life. In their mind, they would rather lose their life, and protect their family and new way of life, than allow some radical to destroy what they had found in the “new world”.
Add the time of about one generation, and we find our country again involved in a world war, “over there”. To the older people, they still remember life in Europe, their children may remember also, but they have seen the devastation wrought by the malefactors involved in WWI; and once again, our young men are hot to trot to get to the recruiting station, sign up, and take the battle “over there”. We are still a young country, less than two hundred years old...and the people love the freedom and liberty they have found here, and are not willing to give it up for anything. Once again, the men are willing to give up their life, to protect their family, and the life they have found.
Well, WWII, ended in 1945, Vietnam came into full swing in 1965. We had come a long way from the life of both world wars. We now had businesses whose sole purpose was fabricating war materials and vehicles. The auto makers no longer needed to retool, though GM did eventually put together the Hummer division to provide new replacement vehicles for the old Jeep and power wagon. The older generation that had the collective understanding of life in Europe were pretty much dead; their children who fought in WWI, and their grandchildren in WWII had decided to make a better life for themselves while they could. They remembered the elite of Europe, the learned class, and they committed themselves to ensuring their children had the best of education. Methinks there may have even been a consideration that if all people were highly educated there would no longer be any elites.
Suffice it to say, here we are in 2010, two centuries removed from the first immigrants landing on our soil, and our collective mindset is no longer relative to life in Europe, but is accepted that we have always lived in this country, and no one has ever set foot in here to cause us harm. We have the greatest military history has ever known, but I don’t want to send my son or daughter into harm’s way, let someone else do it. In earlier days, while I was on active duty, there was a little ditty that would not stand up today’s PC culture. “My _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, my _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, you fight for me, I fight for you; you die for me, tough shit for you”. And that pretty much tells me a lot about the difference. We have become a society that is fixated on me, myself and I. We teach our children, “never volunteer”, “be the best you can be”, “stay out of fights”, “mind your own business”. We have encouraged a society of lovers and not fighters.
Sadly, we have also become a society that no longer embraces freedom and liberty, and what it will bring; but have sold our soul to the devil, to get a little bit of what isn’t ours. We no longer worry about any invading army setting foot into our country, though, every day, more and more of the enemy fighters are gaining entrance, and even citizenship. We have become complacent to let gummint, at all levels, tax us to death, as long as we know we will have nice sculptures to reduce the blight of buildings in downtown areas. As long as we know that that same gummint is putting out money to take care of the down and outers. So, often, I answer these polls that ask, “What price will gasoline have to get to to change your driving patterns?” A more burning question that needs to be asked is: “At what point will taxes cause you to change your behavior?” When will we reach the point where we stand up and say, “enough is enough!”?
In our complacency, we are like the frogs in a bucket of cold water sitting on a stove with the burner on high. We are enjoying life, while we are being robbed of our life. Our country was founded on the principle of freedom and liberty, under God. Today we have left out God, and traded our freedom and liberty for a passel of laws, “to protect me and mine”. Go ask Alice?