Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What Does America Stand For?

That is the title of an article in the current edition of TIME magazine (June 1, 2015) and since I am a veteran of the United States Air Force (1946-53) including service in the Korean War, I am interested in what America does stand for today as I vividly recall what it stood for when I was a youngster.  I had hoped that the article might be a rebuttal to the suggestions floating around in Christian circles that our days are doomed.  I have never seen the likes of it.  At first, I thought what I was hearing came from the local churches as I know that many of them are upset with the thought that same-sex marriages are going to be made legal throughout the United States - as they have been in many States.

For awhile, it seemed to be the economy that was threatening us because of the un-employment figures, due to the recession that overwhelmed us in the wake of our futile wars in the Middle East. Then, slowly but surely those rates began to lessen as our economy picked up steam, but the fears and the fear mongers began to expand.  I scan the more popular Christian magazines and daily, it seems, the prophets of gloom and doom are the primary headline figures.

And of course, our President's "glamour" began to fade as those who obviously were not thrilled with the thought that a black man's hands were on the "ship of State".  I will readily admit, I probably am biased in favor of blacks, in general, as I had the experience of promoting their qualifications for employment at a time when many of the other agencies were "coding" their job applications.  Earlier, I was attending college in Georgia when the Brown vs. Board of Education decision was ruled on by the Supreme Court and was appalled by the reaction of many of my friends and most of my neighbors.

Things are different these days.  Slavery is no longer an issue.  We are not appalled by the sight of a black man holding hands with a white woman.  Mixed race children are everywhere apparent in our public schools.  We have come through the tough times.  Our military power is the pride on our nation and a definite threat to any other nation with thoughts of interfering with our right of passage on the high seas.  We have reason to be proud of our accomplishments as a people and as a nation.

But of course, we do have our problems.  My thought is that the "good" times have spoiled us.  Our Constitution is still our basis for law and it was constituted on the belief that it represented all of our citizens, with one caveat.  "We, the people..." have a definite responsibility.  We are supposed to vote for our Representatives in government at the local, State and Federal levels.  We are failing to take "care of our business".   It is MY business and it is YOURS!

So now that I have made my position clear, let me turn to the TIME article.

The writer - Joel Kline, and his subject is a new book, titled, Three Choices for America's Role in the World.  The author - President of the Eurasia Group, a political risk constituency. I had an impression that he wanted us to do less than we have been doing.   Kline opened his essay with a round about slap at the pending election cycle - 2016.  He wastes away the first page with his thoughts about the candidates, only one of whom will be nominated for President.  The thoughts that are expressed therein have little or nothing to do with the need for our nation to pay more attention to the circumstances at hand.  Listen to those candidates and you will hear that our challenges seem to be insurmountable.  That is utter nonsense, I was born in 1929, sixty days before the Stock Market crash.  Can you imagine what might happen tomorrow if the same thing happened? We still have problems with employment; but do they begin to compare with the tens of thousands who were thrown of their jobs in the truly Great Depression and wound up standing in the bitter cold, hoping, praying for a cup of gruel that was all that most cities had to offer?

The book gets down to business by declaring a possible goal - an independent America, freed of the thought that we must fix the world.  Stay tuned.   It makes a point that I wholehearted agree with. 

"We have no right to force those who disagree with us to see things our way."

The company was involved with a survey of 1,000 Americans about their foreign policy preferences and tabulated the results into three areas; those who chose the idea of an Indispensable America, the world needs our leadership (28%;) a Moneyball America, we can't do everything but we must defend our interests when they are threatened (36%); and the Independent America, we must rid ourselves of international burdens and focus on improving our country from within (36%).

What does America stand for?  From the results of the survey, it should tell us we are divided almost equally among the three options.  That ought to stimulate the candidates into meaningful debates, ridding them themselves of the "one up-man-ship" strategies of the past.  It is time to think seriously about our future without the time consuming tasks that amount to nothing more than the proverbial "blame games" of the past.

And perhaps, hopefully, it will inspire our people to get involved in the process, to register to vote and then, to actually vote.  In my Commercial class in high school - long ago, we were asked to type the following as an exercise to increase our skills - "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."  It still applies, only now women are asked to participate.  So I have to ask of all who read this, do you understand that "now" really means - right now?

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