Doom and gloom and end-world strategies

Tuesday , August 05, 2014 - 12:40 PM

John W. Reynolds

The fu­ture looks pretty gloomy to some folks in the good old USA; they are preach­ing doom and gloom and “end-world” strat­e­gies, and how the Dem­o­crats and Re­pub­li­cans and for that mat­ter in­de­pen­dents, have made a mess of our coun­try. For some of us things have never looked worse and there is talk of rad­i­cal re­sponses if things get worse; up­ris­ings and pro­tests are al­most as­sured af­ter the next pres­i­den­tial elec­tion no mat­ter who wins. Woe is us!

It’s true, we’re in a pretty bad place as a coun­try which can be ex­pected when you have been the num­ber one su­perpower and eco­nomic force in the world for so long that ev­ery coun­try seems out to take you down a notch. Th­ings ha­ven’t ever looked this bad to many of us. Ex­cept, there was that time in the early 1800s when our na­tions’ cap­i­tal had been all but de­stroyed, the White House burned and the pres­i­dent was on the lam.

And there was the time when our coun­try had been torn apart with civil war, brother and cousin fight­ing against each other, ut­ter dev­as­ta­tion in many cit­ies and farms through­out the east coast and south. Wid­ows and or­phans de­pended on fam­ily and friends to sur­vive.

There was also that time when our econ­omy took a nosedive along with the world econ­omy and a great eco­nomic de­pres­sion gripped the coun­try. With no jobs to be found, soup lines, men sell­ing ap­ples on street cor­ners was com­mon; oth­ers choos­ing to dive through win­dows of tall build­ings and much of the coun­try was de­spon­dent and sim­ply try­ing to hold on.

Another time that tested men’s souls hap­pened in the 1940s when the whole world seemed to have gone mad, mad enough to bring most of the world into war. A time when the Brit­ish army was bunched up on a French coastal town wait­ing to be slaugh­tered; when a peo­ple were gath­ered in con­cen­tra­tion camps await­ing a pre­dict­able fate; when Al­lied sol­diers were faced with en­e­mies in two hemi­spheres that seemed to be in­trac­ta­ble and more pow­er­ful than we were; a time when a lit­tle town in Bel­gium was the cen­ter of the war in Europe; a time when small is­lands in the Pa­cific were the cen­ter of the war in the Pa­cific, and the cost in blood and trea­sure was enor­mous, and the fam­i­lies at home won­dered if the war would ever end and if their loved ones would ever come home.

And, there was that time 13 years ago when Amer­ica’s pre­mier city was struck by ter­ror­ists that de­stroyed build­ings and peoples’ lives and se­verely im­pacted a whole na­tion and gave us pause to con­sider the fu­ture, a fu­ture when ter­ror­ism would seem­ingly be with us for­ever.

Some­how we sur­vived and pros­pered and here we are to­day still fight­ing on, still try­ing to deal with the new world cir­cum­stances and we are en­gaged be­cause of an in­tan­gi­ble fac­tor, some­thing called “Amer­i­can Spirit,” a can-do at­ti­tude that has helped us in the past.

Our world to­day is filled with chal­lenges. We’re aware of a lit­any of seem­ingly end­less con­flicts; wars in the Mid­dle East, re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance and per­se­cu­tion, war-mon­ger­ing states, bom­bas­tic dic­ta­tors rat­tling mis­siles; our own do­mes­tic con­flicts from IRS med­dling to bor­der con­trol. Of our do­mes­tic prob­lems one stands preem­i­nent and can best be summed up in cow­boy prose — “lose our bor­ders, lose our coun­try — true story.”

In the midst of this we also find that fewer Amer­i­cans iden­tify them­selves with any re­li­gious group. Our own his­tory tells us that we have al­ways sought guid­ance and di­vine help when faced with over­whelm­ing prob­lems. This is re­flected in the songs of Amer­ica. In WWII we “praised the Lord and passed the am­mu­ni­tion,” and our planes of­ten came “in on a wing and a prayer.” Even the Star Span­gled Ban­ner ad­vises us in the third verse – “and this be our motto, in God is our trust,” and with thank­ful­ness adds – “may this heaven res­cued land praise the Power that made and pre­served us a na­tion.” In “Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful,” we are re­minded that we are not per­fect with – “God mend thine ev­ery flaw, con­firm thy soul with self-con­trol, Thy lib­erty in law.”

It seems that in the midst of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tur­moil that many in the U.S. have turned their backs on God. If bib­li­cal his­tory is any guide it’s clear that when na­tions for­got about God they were for­got­ten by God. So, we mem­bers of the “check-out” gen­er­a­tion will suf­fer the con­se­quences of a world filled with strife for a short time; our prog­eny will have to deal with this. It will be their turn to ex­er­cise their Amer­i­can spirit — per­haps they will do a bet­ter job than we.

John W. Rey­nolds lives in Pleas­ant View.

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