A Tough One

A Tough One (1,197)

July 4th, 2011

Yes, this essay this morning is a tough one for me—not because I don’t know what I want to say or what I feel. But sometimes I am a little apprehensive about being candid—totally transparent—for fear that my representations, although truthful, will be seen as being too honest, too vulnerable and will not be returned by others with an equal sense of forthcoming. That said, let me share.

I love this country—but there are things I don’t love about this country. One of the things I do adore is that I am able to share my misgivings about some of our nation’s actions without feeling that I will come under scrutiny. That is—until recently. I now often sense that any criticism is viewed with a political agenda—that I am being anti-patriotic or even treasonous. How pathetic.

So unfortunately, Independence Day has just become another occasion to honor the military and talk about the great victories of the United States. For instance, I support our troops—but not in everything they’ve done. I do think there’s a difference between what the military did to Hitler and what they did to Geronimo. I think there’s a difference between D-Day and Vietnam. And I think there’s a huge difference between the courage of fighting for independence from Great Britain and the foolish Civil War that took hundreds of thousands of lives over issues that should have been resolved by intelligent men using a basic historical perspective.

And pardon my being strong by saying I hate this country for spending hours on television discussing the Casey Anthony murder trial—about the tragic death of a little girl and those around her, who at the very least are posturing to save their own asses instead of taking responsibility. Shame on us for having interest in such venial concerns.

Another case in point: I love having the freedom of starting my own business without having “you” in my business, but I don’t extol the great value of capitalism. For after all, the free enterprise system promotes the concept that everybody can be prosperous, but fails to deliver on the responsibility that comes with prosperity—that being that we call ourselves a Christian nation, yet one of the basic tenets of Jesus’ philosophy—“for he whom has much, much is expected”—is ignored in deference to greed. Because as we well know, wealth does not trickle down in our country—rather, it clots up in the bank accounts of those who are unwilling to share.

So this is a tough one for me—not because I don’t love this country or not because I don’t know why Independence Day is meaningful to me. I do. And here it is: if I lived in any other country in the world, I would either be in jail, the poorhouse or under public ridicule, considering some of the choices I stupidly made in my younger years. (You can now see why I was afraid to be candid.)

America is a land of freedom, which to me means it is a place where you are granted a second, third, fourth and maybe even a fifth chance to clarify why you are alive and why that should continue.

As a young man, I made mistakes financially, morally and personally that could have been my undoing if I didn’t live in a country where you are given a second sheet of paper, to re-scribble the equations of your purposes. That’s what I’m grateful for—and because of that I am able to give back to my society a gift, a life, a love and a mission that has matured over the years instead of having my independence snatched from me because of idle words and ridiculous plans gone astray. I would dare say that we all would be in serious trouble if we lived in China, Russia, South Africa or maybe even Canada.

This nation is made for losers who want another chance. It is in our DNA, our heritage and our destiny—to welcome those who have flubbed and would like to have a small piece of turf to try again. When we become self-righteous, judgmental, closed-off and selfish, we are no longer the country that we so fervently extol as being extraordinary.

This country was founded by Pilgrims. “Pilgrims”—a generous term for rejected souls who were cast out of every society they were in—until they finally landed on the shores of a place where they could make mistakes without being destroyed. And mistakes we have made, and will continue to make. But we are Americans. We will forgive each other, cut each other slack and live to try again tomorrow.

So God bless America … if she continues to be the forgiving arm of His human expression.

Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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