Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What is an American?

I am currently reading Michel de Crevecoeur's  essay "What is an American?" for a literature class I am taking. I have always wanted to go back and do in-depth study of some of the early American writers, so I am immensely enjoying what I read in this class. The discussion is sadly lacking, and the class is largely an "on-your-own" format, but I am getting as much out of it as I am putting in.

Crevecoeur was a Frenchman who sympathized with the British, so he scurried of to his natal land during the Revolution. His thoughts about America, at the time, were considered embellished and too flattering, as he described it as "the most perfect society now existing in the world." I laugh at his naysayers, realizing that his statement is all too true still today. I read too much of what occurs in the world to think otherwise.

"...from Nova Scotia to West Florida. We are a people of cultivators, scattered over an immense territory, communicating with each by means of good roads and navigable rivers, united by silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained because each person works for himself."

Young teeny twits in the class were commenting that yes, Crevecoeur rightly described an American...we are the land of the free, home of brave...blah, blah. They really have no understanding what it is to be an American. One even said that being an American involved "being free to go wherever we like, like to the mall." I wanted to laugh/scream!!!!!

After another class last night (an interesting yet inadequate session on blindness), I met Mom and we went grocery shopping for the month. On a side note, I don't know why Walmart is our chosen grocery store. Convenience, I suppose. Anyway, everyone in town had just gotten their food stamps for the month obviously. I found the shortest line I could find and bought my fruit, veggies, and staples. I couldn't help but think that most America's view of America today is just the OPPOSITE of Crevecoeur's...each person does NOT work for themselves, and the "silken bands of mild government" are now forged chains that encumber  us with fear, taxes, burdens, responsibilities, and dissatisfaction.

The political ads between parts of "Castle" last night reminded me further of this. The Republicans ads are trash-talking the Democrats and vise versa. But no one really has answers. The American people have for too long expected their leaders and law makers to "turn this country around." They can't do it. I distinctly remember when the "young Republicans" swept Washington, bringing a "new era" to politics, supposedly to take us back to our "founding father roots." And they ended up defrauding tax payers, cheating on their wives, misappropriating funds, and behaving just as badly as their opponents. Wrong was not righted. The Reps were shamefully wronged again. Only a few remained unscathed and untainted by immorality, adultery, scandals, and fiscal irresponsibility. God bless them; they tried.

Currently, it seems that the Republican "right" has just as much scandal and immorality as the other parties. I can see why the Tea Party is gaining so much groundswell. When you see politician after politicians fall, you begin to think that they thought they were going to get away with their stupid actions. As if. . Hmmm...let's recall a few sex scandals alone: Rep. Cathy M. Rodgers (WA), Rep. Mark Foley ( FL), Sen. Larry Craig (ID), Glenn Murphy, Jr. (fmr. National Chairman of the Young Republicans),  Kevin Garn (UT House Maj. Leader), Sen. John Ensign (NV), Sen. David Vitter (LA), Gov. Mark Sanford (SC), Rep. Ken Calvert (Cali), Rep. Jim Bunn (OR), Rep. Bob Barr (GA), and the list goes on and on.

I hope youngsters like Marco Rubio can turn the tide. But I think not. Most idealists like him end up compromising in turn. I am sick that these perverts get all the attention. I am sure that there are more than a few good men like Dan Quayle and J. C. Watts have lived pristine, truly "neighbor before self" lives.

For those of us Reps. who claim to be devout Christians, this is NO WAY to shine as a light in the world. Our Grand Old Party is SUPPOSED to stand for conservative family values and moral issues. It seems that we do "protest too much" indeed.

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