Democracy is notan easy process
Generally speaking, I think Americans love themselves far more than they love their country. I see the stars and stripes displayed more often than I used to, but that’s only because the rules have changed. It was too much trouble to honor it every setting of the sun. We can raise it once, and leave it for the weather to shred. There have been no penalties administered for failing to illuminate it at night, so it hangs in the darkness. We can’t even find the time to bring our banner to half-staff until noon on Memorial Day out of respect for those who fought and died for our preservation. It used to be a student privilege to raise and lower the flag each school day. We don’t bother with such ceremony anymore.
The middle class was once the sinew of the nation. Our materialism has been a great contributor to its demise. We know money makes the world go ‘round, but we’ve forgotten the power of the purse to stop it.
We used to produce everything we needed or wanted ourselves, and that USA label meant it was the best in the world. Those good-paying jobs kept the wheels of commerce rolling. A strong tax base paid for an interstate highway system, sent men to the moon, and built a military machine the world came to respect. We could afford a stay-at-home parent to raise, nurture, and prepare our children for society. We didn’t need daycare and preschool. Irresponsible consumption is destroying one of the pillars of our independence by buying whatever is cheapest, from wherever it’s made, and we enrich nations that could care less if we survive.
We whine about an inept government, are too self-absorbed to take our democratic responsibilities of petition and protest seriously, and a minority of the population continues to elect the same useless, disconnected, self-interested politicians into office. Why, we’ve even created a party that reflects our selfish image. The Tea Party holds its liberties to be sacrosanct; anyone whose ideas of freedom are different count for nothing.
The survival of our democratic social experiment requires a brotherhood of all citizens to be vigilant, and actively involved in our governance. Without that kind of commitment this country is like our flag left to the disinterested elements: the colors fade, the fibers break down, the seams let go, and the banner becomes a remnant of history.
Jeffery W. Wiseley