An American Twelve Year Memory Loss

In 1956, the year I was born, the world was a much different place than it is today. My generation came into a nuclear-armed world where the possibility of global annihilation rested on the shoulders of opposing powers, Democracy and Communism.

wordmapOr so we were told as we learned to duck and cover under our desks in case of nuclear attack. A mere twelve years before, in 1944, the world still faced Hitler, the Final Solution, and raging war. The end of the war still more than a year, and hundreds of thousands of more deaths, away.

There were no cell phones, websites, or Facebook.

Imagine.

Twelve years later, in 1968, America was being torn apart as much as our military forces were tearing apart the country of Vietnam. The ’68 Tet Offensive, live on TV, brought the war into the American living room as the body count climbed. The military defeat of the Viet Cong lost in the outrage over America’s continued spending of the blood of our young men and women for a failed policy.

Twelve more years pass and, by 1980, Americans were held hostage in Iran, and a new President came into office promising to win their release. What first appeared to be the success of a firm and effective policy later turned out to be political subterfuge.

In 1992, a new chapter dawns. A President takes office who would reopen relations with Vietnam and start the healing process for those who fought there, and then go on national television and lie to the American people. An unnecessary and foolish lie.

Another twelve years, 2004, would find America embroiled once again in an endless war, with no clear goals and no end in sight. A President would commit troops to combat and tell the American people to go shopping.

He would go on to declare “mission accomplished.”

Twelve years later, 2016, the troops were still there. Except, of course, for the ones who’d been wounded or killed after the mission was accomplished.

We also had a new President. In the peculiar institution of our electoral process, more people voted against him than for him but he won the Electoral College.  It gives one pause to consider if we should rethink the accreditation of this college.

Nevertheless, he is the President.

Since taking office, he has shut down the government unless Congress meets his demand for money to build a wall most people agree is an ineffective solution to a complex problem.

And so it goes.

It would seem Americans have an attention span of fewer than twelve years. We repeat the same mistakes, or conveniently forget about them

If I am fortunate enough to enjoy the full extent of my life expectancy, I have two or three more twelve-year cycles to go. Let’s hope we get better at it.

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

We are in Harrisville, New Hampshire for a few weeks. My wife is attending a weaving workshop, and I have the entire day to focus on finishing up my next book. (More on that later!)

Harrisville (pop. 961), right outside metropolitan Dublin, New Hampshire and a mere 5 miles from Peterborough, New Hampshire is a step back in time to a different America. An America of long ago not yet overrun by urban development.

Each morning we leave the Harrisville Inn, the B&B where we are staying, and walk about a mile to “downtown” Harrisville. Harrisville is best known for its loom making and weaving design center. The building was once a sawmill and grist mill built back in the late 1700’s.

An old channel flows beneath the building and was once harnessed to power the machinery. Converted to a weaving education center, it teaches and preserves the art of weaving.

A short distance away is the Harrisville General Store/Restaurant/Community and Cultural Center. If you want to find anybody who lives in Harrisville, come here. If they aren’t here for coffee in the morning, they’ll be here for lunch.

It is a place with everything you might need and nothing you might want.  Somehow, they know the difference.

A place where people leave their keys in the car.

A place where they trust their kids to know how to cross the street and expect them to say please and thank you.

A place where they say hi to everyone, using first names when they know them, introducing themselves and asking if they don’t.

A place where the flag goes up each morning at 6 a.m. and down at 6 p.m. If it rains, they do not put it up. A tip of the hat to the old rules of respect. I dare say, people would dive into the road to save the flag from touching the ground.

A place where a chalkboard in the town square reports the latest deaths and births.

A place where an ice cream social is a major event.

A place where people will leave their dog with you, telling you the dog’s name as if introducing a family member, while they run in for a paper.

Neither the dog or their owner thinks this unusual.

0719180842a_HDRMeet Hero, my new friend. We meet for coffee each morning on the front porch of the country store. Not much of a conversationalist, but a great listener.

The local conversations range from how much firewood they have split and stacked for winter to how the corn is coming up to how much of the just ripened berries the bears got last night.

It’s a place where they will tell you great places to fish, but not the best places to fish.

It is not the America of Mayberry, but it is as close as we can get in 2018. I am sure they have all the same concerns of politics and world events.

I am sure they have deep feelings about the way the country is going. They keep that mostly to themselves, preferring to speak at the voting booth.

I am also sure that they are the best example of how real Americans can weather any storm, bear any burden, survive any partisan political upheaval, and still remember what matters.

As I sit there, the Simon & Garfunkel song, “America,” plays in my head.

“…they’ve all come to look for America…”

I think I found it, Paul.

 

A Murderer as Victim:  The American Blame Game

In all the vitriol, anger, and twisted logic in the debate on guns and violence in America, one vital aspect is kicked to the side, ignored and discounted; personal responsibility for one’s actions.

theymademedoitblogIn our single-minded focus on trying to explain why these things happen, and how to prevent them, we gloss over the one common element. Absent unmistakable evidence of mental incapacity–and almost every shooter who survives a mass shooting is judged competent to stand trial—the individual who pulls the trigger is responsible for his or her actions.

The fact is we may never understand why. We may never find a way to prevent it from ever happening again. We may never come to grips with America’s inexplicable fascination with guns.

We may never accept the demise of the balance of power between our early government—the one without a standing army– and an armed citizenry. Our embracing a concept no longer grounded in reality is one of the stumbling blocks to addressing part of the problem.

But that’s not the point of this piece.

The most important thing we can do is insist on personal responsibility for one’s actions. We need to focus on this from the earliest age, so the practice becomes second nature. Instead, we have parents suing school departments when their kids are taken off a sports team or barred from graduation for violating the rules.

“Oh, my poor (son/daughter) didn’t mean to break the rules, everyone else was doing it, it’s not fair they won’t get to play soccer/go to the prom/attend graduation.  I’ll sue.”

A tremendous parental example there.

The dearth of personal responsibility in America is illustrated by our penchant for blaming everyone else but ourselves for our actions. The most startling example of this is from the father of the shooter in the Santa Fe Texas school shooting.

As part of the idiotic media frenzy, which contributes to the problem, the father of the “alleged” killer said,

“My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim,” he said. “The kid didn’t own guns. I owned guns.”

A victim? The victims are the ten dead, the wounded, and their families left to suffer because of the cowardly act of a self-delusional individual without one shred of human decency or compassion.

The father said,

“Something must have happened now, this last week,” he told the station. “Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don’t know what could have happened. I can’t say what happened. All I can say is what I suspect as a father.” (https://apnews.com/70ba9b2e83194fbab13bb26819aed045)

The father says his son was bullied. Bullied? When did bullying rise to the level of justifying homicidal provocation?

By this logic, someone being bullied now has cause to take a gun and kill another human.

Very few people are born evil, but we all have the capacity for evil in us. Raising children to be responsible adults is the ultimate purpose of being a parent. When you fail, the darkness within can rise to the surface.

If you don’t instill personal responsibility early, self-control fails and bad things happen. It may not be the only reason these shootings happen, but it is a significant factor.

This infatuation we have with turning everything into a “syndrome,” giving it a name and using it as some terrifying boogieman is disheartening and self-destructive. Bullying has become almost as frightening as a diagnosis of cancer.

I understand there are horror stories of “bullying” that drove some to suicide. That is a tragedy. But adolescent behavior, that often includes “bullying” of others, underscores my point.

The failure of personal responsibility, by the parents and the children engaged in such behavior, is the problem. Part of this is the false courage instilled by the wall of technology. It’s easy to be cruel and demeaning in the comfort of one’s own home when texting or posting on social media. Tweets and emoji and SnapchatInstagramTwittering is a shield to cowards.

It doesn’t negate the responsibility of parents to pay attention. In our 24/7 technologically connected world, the burden is heightened.

One of the most brilliant philosophers who ever lived, my mother, summed it up in six words,

“Life’s not fair, get over it.”

We learned from her that one had to deal with life, not whine and cry, and adjust to it. Blaming others for your own circumstances is the childish way out. As one matures, you come to understand that no one has power over you unless you let them.

By the time you reach high school, one should firmly understand personal responsibility.

I know this may not be politically correct, but the way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. Homicidal violence is never a solution, but a well-placed punch in the nose, even if you ultimately lose the fight, might go a long way to preventing a minor problem from becoming a bigger one.

I may have lost a few fights growing up, but I got my point across.

In Texas, the only person to blame for what happened is the shooter. I won’t dignify him with using his name. Making killers famous for their actions is part of the problem.

There is also the personal responsibility of the father for leaving the weapons open and unsecured. He may be suffering because of his son’s actions, but he also bears criminal liability for it.

If the law applies, he should be charged. If he had any sense of personal responsibility, he’d plead guilty. My defense attorney friends may differ in this but there is a difference between “not guilty” and “innocent.”

Like it or not he has blood on his hands, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for him to acknowledge it. He needed the guns for personal protection. That was important to him.

When his son turned them into offensive weapons and murdered innocent men, women, and children he hid behind excuses. Wasn’t my son, they made him do it. It begs the question about priorities.

That’s what lack of personal responsibility is, blaming the world for your own choices.

It’s time for that to change.  We can do this without changing one law, limiting any perceived Constitutional right, or infringing on anyone’s liberty.

Acknowledging your own actions, not blaming the rest of the world for your personal failures, would be a good first step.

A Rumor of Greatness: Lessons in America’s Past

If we are to make America great again, shouldn’t there be a point in time we can look to as the standard for this greatness? When did we hit the peak of American greatness? What started the decline?

Don’t we need to know what we seek before we go looking for it?

Here’s a look at post-World War II, when America emerged as the most powerful nation on earth.

In the 1950’s institutional racism was an accepted aspect of life in most of America.  Court decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education moved the country, kicking and screaming, closer to our professed, but inconsistently applied, philosophy of equality.

The first routes of our involvement in Vietnam began with advisers.

America developed policies of equipping South and Central American police agencies with tactics to counteract communist insurgencies. These amounted to classes in sophisticated methods of torture.

Lessons learned from MKUltra Project (https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp91-00901r000500150005-5)

were turned into HOW TO classes for interrogation. We created the Office of Public Safety (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Public_Safety) as a cover for this training.

We put a kinder and gentler face on a monster. Unleashing it on others while decrying such tactics as barbaric.

Our fear of a communist takeover in Central and South America drove us from our ideals. Our proclamations of the shining example of American rule of law fell on deaf ears, punctured in the torture chambers of police agencies we trained.

In the 1960’s the US intervened militarily in Vietnam. Our involvement cost millions of lives, supported a totalitarian government, and damaged the military in the eyes of many Americans.

We trained South Vietnamese Intelligence services with new and improved methods of interrogation. Guidelines spelled out in the CIA’s own manual on counterintelligence interrogation called Kubark. (https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122/CIA%20Kubark%201-60.pdf)

The programs were further documented in the fascinating (and horrifying) book, A Decent Interval, by Frank Snepp. A CIA interrogator who took part in the interrogation of Viet Cong suspects.

We created the Phoenix Program. A controversial program of capturing, interrogating, and killing Viet Cong and NLF suspects.

Meanwhile, at home, the still smoldering embers of racial inequality grew hotter. The war in Vietnam tore America in two. Poverty and racial inequality reignited the fire. American cities burned.

It forced President Johnson from office and led to the election of Richard Nixon with his “secret” plan (sound familiar?) to end the war. A war he also covertly worked against any resolution before his 1968 election. Read Haldeman’s book Inside the Nixon Whitehouse if you don’t believe me on that one. (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NCYX17R)

In the 1970’s, anger fueled the raging race issues. “Activist” Judges had to order Boston schools desegregated.  Over 100 years had passed since the end of the Civil War and institutional segregation still existed.

And continues to this day (https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/03/a-mississippi-school-district-is-finally-getting-desegregated/519573/)

In the 1980’s Reagan (the hero of “small” government) launched the biggest government spending program in history, Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), reigniting the potential for nuclear confrontation. We also went on the violate our own policies by negotiating with terrorists (Iran-Contra)

In the 1990’s Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, defining Marriage as a union between one man and one woman (and one intern), bowing to the politics of placating those trapped in a whitewashed false past of a more moral America.

We fired a few cruise missiles at some targets in a desert and ignored the Rwandan Genocide.

Nothing occurs in a vacuum. The people who suffered by the duplicitous nature of our foreign intervention in their governments came to despise us. We compounded the very problems we were seeking to prevent.

There were more positives than negatives in these time periods. But we gain nothing from celebrating all the good we’ve done without an honest appraisal of our mistakes.

America wasn’t “great” then and worse now, it was flawed. The lack of a 7-day 24-hour news cycle, controlled by a profit-driven media, made it seem a better time.

Here’s one example, in 1978, the year I joined the Police Department, more than 210 cops were killed that year. The death toll among law enforcement began a slow and steady increase in the 1960s and 1970s, peaking in 1974 with 280 cops killed. One might argue they were casualties of war. The war on drugs.

Here’s an interesting fact, the most dangerous year on record for Police Officers was 1930 when 307 officers were killed. The safest years in the 20th and 21st century, 1943 and 1944, when 87 and 93 officers were killed.

It gives one pause.

Now one officer being killed is unacceptable, but the perception is there is a war on cops. It is a media-driven brainwashing of America which compounds the problem. Are there people out there who hate cops? Of course. Given the chance, they may act on that, but to think things were better “back in the day” is naive.

We look to Europe and see their policies of open immigration as disasters, threatening the stability of those nations. What we forget, while countries like Germany and France well remember, is the irrational fear of a group because of cultural differences leads to a Holocaust.

We fought a long and difficult war to end such horrors, we shouldn’t let those lives go to waste because we’ve papered over the ugliness that still plagues the world.

America can never be defeated by an external enemy. We can only be defeated from within if we forget the principles upon which we are based. It will not be an infiltration of 14th-century flawed fundamentalist philosophies that destroys us. It will happen only if we abandon those principles that guide us.

If we have ignored our principles in the past, we must strive to make sure they guide our future decisions.

America’s greatness is in our future. We must admit to our mistakes, take pride in our accomplishments, and seek ways that preserve our security without sacrificing our freedom.

There is a slogan often used by those who wrap themselves in the flag, Freedom is not Free. There is a truth here, one I suspect they do not see. Freedom requires us to defend it at any cost to protect not just those with whom we agree, but more so with those with whom we differ.

It is by embracing differences America shows true greatness.

Presumptuous Trumpism

From September 7, 1940, until May 10, 1941, England endured a period known as the Blitz. It is a derivative of the German word Blitzkrieg, “Lightning war.”

Germany sent wave upon wave of bombers to bring terror, genuine countrywide terror, to London and all of England.

32,000 people, men, women, and children, died.

87,000 were wounded.

2 million homes were destroyed.

And the Brits survived. (as a side note, we stood by. Sent lots of supplies, but not quite interested in the war, yet.)

From the ashes of that terrible time, the people of England survived.

Julie Andrews, a most gifted voice, sang as merely a child in the shelters as the bombs fell.

Not to minimize the deaths of those in the London Bridge today, but it pales to those who survived the blitz. The Brits understand this. The Brits walked around the police tape on London Bridge as soon as the police allowed them.

They hardly need our President to lecture them about what to do.

I offer this as an apology for the idiocy of our President who misquotes the mayor of London to solidify his own failing agenda.

My favorite quote from our idiot in chief is “‘Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck” leaving out the fact that the “terrorist” had no options because guns are difficult to obtain in England.

Our President decided to deride the Mayor of London by taking a quote out of context to reaffirm the President’s idiocy.

Perhaps President Trump might learn something from another Brit he likely admires, Winston Churchill. Mr. Churchill once famously quoted, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up”

Alas, we have a President who not only is unwilling to face the tough challenges, he is more than willing to let someone else go in our place.

 

 

 

Born in the USA: The Bright Shining Lie of Uninformed Patriotism

Last night we went to the first of six Pawtucket Red Sox games which feature a themed firework display after the game. (I know this may seem like heresy from a Yankee fan, but it is a nice place to watch a game despite the Red Sox aura.)

For the Memorial Day Weekend, the theme was a patriotic one. Commemorating the lives of those who served in the military and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, defending the freedom of this country and others around the world.

There is much for which this country should be proud. We’ve been willing to sacrifice our young men and women for our ideals.  In the words of President John F. Kennedy, we’ve been willing to,

“pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

We survived and thrived because we valued dedication, intelligence, and determination in pursuit of these ideals. We haven’t always been perfect, no nation or people are, but we have always been willing to learn from our mistakes.

I wonder where that brilliance has gone.

One song chosen to accompany the spectacular and inspiring display was the Bruce Springsteen song, “Born in America.”

Odd how an anti-war, anti-military-industrial complex song critical of the way we treat veterans has somehow become a rousing “hurray for America” theme. It strikes me as an indictment of our inability to think things through anymore. Our failure to find solutions to problems. Favoring slogans to rouse emotions over doing the difficult things.

To quote the lines I found most troubling amid the applause and cheers of the crowd,

“Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the yellow man”

I couldn’t help but notice the families of many Southeast Asians in the crowd. I wonder what they’d think if they knew the lyrics?

This underscores the rising rampant dangerous nationalism within this country that screams for a “target of opportunity.”  Today’s target is Islam.

But our failing to even bother to understand the meaning of these songs we use as a soundtrack to patriotic displays underscores our failure to understand the nature of warfare today.

In World War I and II we helped defeat a military-supported government seeking to impose themselves on others. One can debate the many reasons behind how these wars started, but the goal was clear.

Today is a different world.  Today is a world of asymmetric warfare requiring asymmetric thinking. We face any enemy of ideas, not divisions and tanks.

We must fight the genesis of these concepts of twisted jihad with intelligence and thoughtful policies, not B-1 stealth bombers and cruise missiles.

Weapons such as these have their purpose, make no doubt about it, but we could double the stockpile of weapons and it would have no effect on the enemy. Calling for the leveling of Mecca or Medina may make for rousing sound bites but would be a wasteful, inhumane, and ineffective policy.

Perhaps we should think about the ideas behind Springsteen’s lyrics.

Wars are started by ambitious politicians but fought by young men and women.

Wars are won and lost by these same politicians. (See Vietnam as an example.)

Our enemies today are enemies of everyone who opposes their ideas. We must bring the world together to fight these insidious twisted 14th-century concepts, not push ourselves into an America first isolationism.

Before entering into both World Wars, we sought to stay out of the “European” problem. That was the world where most people never traveled more than fifty miles from where they were born. Where communications between countries took weeks.

That is not today’s world.

The time of unleashing “Ole’ Blood and Guts” military leaders of Patton, Eisenhower, Marshall, and MacArthur is over. Now, more than ever, we need intelligent policies that utilize the selective application of military power to compliment our once formidable determination.

It is the only way to change the conditions that breed these terrorists.

We have the big stick, we need to remember to walk softly.

I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime, but I hope for a day when we celebrate the passing of the last veteran. For when that day comes, all the sacrifices of every veteran will be worth it.

Apologies to the Future of America

Hello,

This is America from the early 21st century. If you read this, if there are any of you left to read this, you’ll no doubt be confused by the legacy we left for you.

You may have questions as to just WTF happened to cause a normally sober and rational people to elect “the Donald” to the presidency.

An excellent and unanswerable question.

We can hope the 45th President wasn’t the last.

Arising from the fears of an ignorant elective confused by what is required to serve in the position, he was elected by anger fueled with barroom logic screaming “throw the bums out.”

Fear trumped rationality. Anger replaced discourse and dialog. Nationalism couched as patriotism blinded the reality of a changing world. We wanted to return to the cocoon of an insular America.

We tried to turn back time to an era that was neither better nor great.

Some will argue this missive is premature. We are a mere three weeks into this debacle. But one can use logical deduction to see the future. If he can mangle things this much in 21 days, what will a full year look like?

Supporters see his “take no prisoners, school-yard bully” approach as refreshing. Yet it flies in the face of 300 years of maturing American style of diplomacy and managing domestic affairs.

We elected a maniacal, Machiavellian, misanthrope with delusions of rationality to serve as the leader of the free world.

All I can do is ask your forgiveness and hope you manage to survive to read this.

Washington left us a legacy in words. Lincoln left us the poetry of his Gettysburg Address. John Kennedy’s words inspired us to go to the moon and join the Peace Corps.

Trump tweets trash. 144 characters not worth the effort to push the delete key.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, we can only hope Trump doesn’t tweet while America does the same.

In the words of the Don Henley song,

We are

Beating plowshares into swords for this tired old man to be elected king

I have nothing to offer up in our best defense but an apology for our wanton disregard of your once bright future. We have no excuse for overseeing the end of the innocence.

So please accept our apologies. If you found a way to right things, we applaud you. If there is no America left to read this, we accept our responsibility for your demise.

Sincerely,

Your apologetic past

 

Future History

Scenarios for the Trump Presidency.

“Grandpa, were you alive when Donald Trump was President? We’re studying him in history.”

“I was, Billy, I was just a small boy, but I remember. They were scary times.”

“Why?”

“Because Mr. Trump said things that scared people. Mostly good people. It seemed he wanted to change America and not in a good way.”

‘So what happened?”

“Well, Billy, he surprised the world. He started like all the others, did what lots of politicians do. He said one thing to get elected, then, did something entirely different once he got in. Remember this, Billy. Running for President and being President are two very different things.”

“How Grandpa?”

“Because once you are in that office, decisions you make can affect millions of people. It can cost them their lives. President Trump turned out to be more thoughtful, compassionate, and intelligent than many expected.”

“So that’s why he’s up there?”

“Yup, Billy, that’s why he’s up there. Been a long time since we had a President who deserved this.  So, you ready to go?”

“I am, Grandpa, thanks for taking me here. Mount Rushmore is pretty cool.”

*****

“Grandpa, were you alive when Donald Trump was President? We’re studying him in history.”

“I was, Billy, I was just a small boy, but I remember. They were scary times.”

“Why?”

“Because he forgot about the history and dignity of the office of the President and the right of others to live their lives in a manner they choose.”

“So what happened?”

“Here, look through the telescope. You see that large debris cloud between here and Venus?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s all that’s left of the Earth.”

 

 

Dogs May Be Smarter than Humans

Whenever I buy something new, I am always amused by the instructions or warnings. In particular, the universal stick figure illustrations that attempt to transcend language differences.

My personal favorite is the warnings on the desiccant pack included with most electronics. Their purpose is to absorb moisture. The warning, ominous and serious, says, “Not for Human Consumption.”

Really?

In all my life I never once considered having them for dinner. Not once. Yet, there are the warnings.

I used to be insulted that someone thought them necessary. Now, however, I see a need for them on what would seem a self-explanatory use of an item.

Dog waste bags, in the proper English. Dog shit bags in the vernacular.

You would think no explanation or instructions are necessary.

You would be wrong.

I walk the bike path in Albion almost every day. And almost every day the bike path is littered with used, yet improperly disposed of, dog waste bags.

Adownloadpparently, the concept is too complex for most.

It would seem simple.

Buy the bags, attach the convenient dispenser to the dog leash, take dog for a walk, observe (discreetly so as not to give performance anxiety) as the dog dispenses the processed Alpo, Purina, or recently consumed trash, pick up said pile of waste with the bag, spin vigorously to secure, tie in a knot, and then, here is where the instructions are necessary, DISPOSE OF IT.

Do not toss to the side of the bike path.

Do not leave them behind.

TAKE IT WITH YOU AND PUT IT IN THE TRASH.

For the love of all that is good, if you’re gonna leave it behind, why would you entomb a biodegradable item in a non-biodegradable plastic coffin?

The shit would be gone in a few days, the bag will be here until the end of time. It will confuse future alien archeologists. Imagine that discussion. “They bagged what? No way.”

One wonders if there is any hope for America. It’s hard to be optimistic when you realize some of these simpletons vote. People who cannot figure out that disposing of the waste bag is a critical part of the process probably shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision.

America’s Long Walk on a Short Pier

The America I know, the one that once served as a bright shining beacon to the world, is changing. Our headlong panic rush to insulate, rather than defend, ourselves from those that would do us harm is disheartening.

Talk of building walls, denying entry based on religion or origin, craving a national policy of carpet bombing without regard to innocents is not a solution. It is the easy way out. That is not America.

We are on a very long walk on a short pier.305880-pier

America was once the country who built piers to welcome those who seek the American dream. We stood greeting those looking for a better life. Yet now, because it is so easy to focus on those who misuse our welcome, we are throwing it all away.

When did we become so afraid of standing up for what is right, that we are willing to bury our head in the sand?

We bought into this ‘I’m being bullied nonsense’ and cry to our mommies. I know this may offend some people but you don’t run from bullies, or try to legislate them out of existence. You stand up to them.

It’s the only way to solve the problem. Time to recapture our pride and dignity.

Now, we are faced with a Presidential election. The campaign is a bunch of meaningless drivel, hurled by both sides, that offers no real solution, no intelligent analysis of the problem, and no real hope for change.

We are better than that. We deserve better than that. And yet, most of us just follow along like blind sheep lured by the aroma of fresh feed right into the slaughter house.

Instead of doing the hard work of identifying those who would misuse welfare, we punish the entire program.

Instead of doing the difficult task of bringing the fight to the enemy, we embrace politicians with no idea of the rules of engagement who see carpet bombing as a solution to end a philosophy. Innocent casualties be damned.

Instead of making the effort to understand the complex problems facing us, we engage in screaming matches that do nothing.

Instead of focusing on the logjam that is Congress, we scream and yell about useless Congressional hearings and speeches that capitalize on our ignorance.

Instead of embracing education, we dilute the standards then blame teachers for the results. Johnny can’t read and we do not care.

But there is still time.

There is time to remember that Congress holds the purse strings of America, not the President, and understand who holds the purse strings of Congress.

There is time to return to an America where holding public office meant doing public service not keeping it for life.

There is time, but it, like the end of the pier, is growing short.

I have noticed a troubling trend among the tattooed generation of Americans. I am noticing more and more individuals sporting a barcode tattoo on the back of their necks.

If we are not vigilant. If we do not wean ourselves away from chasing Pokémon. If we do not think instead of remaining mindlessly enslaved to our cell phones.

If we do not realize that we have stopped adding to the pier that is the American dream but continue to walk at our current pace, we will find ourselves at the end.

Those sporting this barcode tattoo may be a foreshadow of the American future.

Where once each new generation represented an addition to the treasure of America, our people, they may be reduced to nothing but inventory from a failed dream.

Think before we walk into oblivion.