Wednesday , August 06, 2014 - 12:00 AM
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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