Saluting with misty eyes
Yes, we are the same country we once were, and No, we are not the same country we once were, and- the better question- do we actually want to be?
This country was founded on the basis of freedom and prosperity for all with all white men having one vote for one man; We were allowed to worship whichever deity we wanted to (or not) as long as it was the Christian mythos we adheared to. Anyone could say anything at all as long as they did not advocate the overthrow of the lawful government. People were allowed to think whatever thoughts they wanted.
Fast forward some 200 and change, and it is, seemingly, the white Christian men who are being discriminated against the most. It is perfectly acceptable to chastise and ridicule any Christian belief or person who claims themself to follow those belifs, yet if one says anything close the what anyone anywhere in the worldatany point in their lives feel might possibly be speakling ill about any other religious thought, then that person is hanged in effigy- if not reality.
We are all still allowed to say whatever it is we wish to say, just as long as it is not against the popular thought. Then, whomever is guilty of perprtuating such folly (such as believing in the War Against Terror, and what it is standing for) is shouted down and is ridiculed by the masses for being non-intelligent and a "tool" of the nasty, and heartless right wing of the government,and who is an uncaring, and insensitive shlub.
We are also allowed to think whatever thoughts we wish, as long as those thoughts are not distatefulto another human being. We are not allowed to think that a gay man (as only an example... not my thoughts) is immoral. We are not allowed to think that a black man(or hispanic, or oriental, or muslim) who is acting aggressively should be locked away. We are not allowed to think that anyone who crosses the American border without the needed paperwork and permission is a criminal. That thought is considered a "hate crime" and is illegal. Just the THOUGHT is illegal.
Americans are also still spoiled, and feel that we should be afforded special priveledges just simply because we are Americans... and it is the ones who are screaming the loudest about how wrong America is, and how evil the American government is that seem to demand the most. We pay $4.00 at the pump, and are screaming at the top of our lungs because we are being unfairly targetted for price gouging, and yet when it is brought to people's attention that in The Netherlands, gas is about $6.50a gallon, we don't care, because that is their business, and has nothing to do with our right to be pampered.
Yes, Virginia, we are the same country.
On the other hand, American shores are innundated with legal immigrants who are looking to make a better life for themselves. We are still the gold standard for the world as an example of freedom and opportunity. The American Dream is alive and well, and living in the hearts of everyone who comes to this shore trying to make a better life for them and theirs. While Americans a laughing at Abu and his family owning the local Quiki-Mart, they don't realize that Abu owns SIX of those Quicki-Marts and is laughing at everyone who comes in kvetching that there is no opportunity for advancement in America any more.
Americans sit around their living room with their beer in hand and a bag of pretzels complaining to the stars that the politicians are corrupt and that there is nothing good about any politician, and that there is nothing that can be done to change the world. Yet, they forget Jan Scruggswho got the VIetnam Vets that black piece of rock to call their own. James McEntee, the man who started the Second Harvest Food Bank doesn't even cross their minds. They could care less that Jody Williams started the Ban Landmines Campaign (and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize) from her Vermont home.
Yes, Virginia, we are the same country.
Wait, it seems that these days, we have better access to the government than in times bgefore, when it was the "good-old-boys network, and elections were won in the back-rooms. We have access to better health care than at any time in the history of man. We have access to better everything (almost)than ever before. There ARE more opportunities than ever before to rise above one's station, and to be what our parents could only dream.We are still looked to from the rest of the world to help out where help is needed; to assist theose who are not allowed the basic freedoms that we should be enjoying ourselves; we are asked to quell every unjust uprising and to act as the world's police forcefor every situation where the little people are bring oppressed; we are asked to take the lead for every "muliti-national" military action the UN throws down our throats.
Yes, we are the same country, no we are not the same country... what does it matter? We are still, after having done extensive travel, the best country on the planet. And it is up to us to determine which country we are going to live in.
Best leadership? How about Josiah Bartlett?
What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.