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The America I Once Knew

The America I Once Knew

The vast majority of baby boomers believe that they grew up in a free country. Was it free? Is it free? It has been said: “America is a free country… until you read the fine print!”

To be fair, freedom in every country is conditional, with the conditions stipulated in footnotes that can take up most of the page. The 1960s generation in the USSR, had little doubt that the USSR was a free country, outside of obvious restrictions like those imposed on travel abroad, restrictions that were easily explained by way of Uncle Sam’s imperialism and related connivances.

In America, the limits to one’s freedom are defined by conditions such as whether one is rocking the economic boat of a competitor or whether one has chosen to
enter the public eye as a politician, an athlete, or as an actor. It is also understood that, “Your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” Obama-Clinton’s liberty to support “rainbow fascism” and terrorism, abroad, ended at the noses of millions of voters, as Clinton harshly discovered on election day.

Since asterisks didn’t weigh down the definition of freedom for children in the 50s, baby boomers cherish memories of an era when bicycles were left on front lawns unlocked – overnight, or longer – and back porch doors were always welcomingly ajar. A sense of community, civility, and mutual respect was palpable. Sunday was a day of rest and most stores closed. A significantly greater number of families attended church services than those that didn’t.

Some 65 years later, America is a different planet.

A casual drive through suburban side streets will be quiet enough to hear birds chirping. Not many children, if any, will be playing kickball or chasing butterflies through fenceless backyards. Boy’s won’t be seen throwing dirt bomb grenades in the retaking of the empty lot named Guam and cowboys won’t be roping Indians to an oak, which also nests a treehouse. Dogs won’t be on the loose and no girl on a Schwinn with a dual-toned seat will be seen cruising over to a neighbor’s house to
dress up as mom or to play with Tiny Tears. Girls and boys won’t be seen in a beehive of activity building a clubhouse for reenactments of the latest Mickey Mouse Club episode or in anticipation of grown-up life.

The planet will be drained of life.

It was during a stopover at the grandparents that I roused the kids on a lip-locking freeze of a January morning: “Get up! Perfect sledding conditions!” Indeed, ice had solidly, candy-coated a few inches of snow. Before anyone could ruin perfection with a footprint, I was determined to show a new generation where we used to blaze through frost and tears on Flexible Flyers. The vintage sleds, minus a little shine, were as ready to carve up the slopes as I was.

Approaching a venerable golf course on foot, a closed gate glared, menacingly. It was double, chain-locked. I eventually learned that a lawsuit had been filed against
the club by parents of a child who had recklessly tattooed his face riding into a shrub. All good will on the part of club owners subsequently evaporated. Forever. Not to be daunted, we trekked to another golf course. Considering the time lost and that it was almost noon, I was taken aback by the absence of revelers on the wide
expanses. A few phone calls proved to be transfiguring. The white canvas of the hills became a mural with splashes of color and blurred hues conveying action.

Accompanying laughter echoed throughout and squeals of fright broadcast from speakers doubling as hills. Curiously, we remained the sole pleasure seekers, until several hours later when a limousine neared a side fence, at some distance. Bird-like cautious, a woman could be spotted, exiting the vehicle, apparently, trying to make sense of the ruckus. A boy and a sled appeared near her, both waiting for her verdict. Mother hen apparently nodded the go-ahead, but playtime timed out at 20 minutes. The boy and his sled never reached the real slopes where we had pinned our flag. Just as unobtrusively as the mother-son apparition had materialized, it was gone.

My mind played to comprehend the curt visit and the maternal oversight. “What was it that instigated such protective cluckery? Was it us? Were we violating some written or unwritten law? Were we trespassing? Sure, it’s private property but it’s not fenced in. By merely circling behind the Lutheran church on the West side you’re at the best hill. A cinch. Besides, sledding has always been a tradition, here.”

As we parted the fun into the amber sunset, it sunk in that if I hadn’t taken the initiative, despite ideal conditions, Mt. Suburbia would have remained as virginal
as the peaks of Tibet. Adding two plus two, I began to suspect that in the decades of my absence a new reality had settled over these parts. And, that I had imposed the free-spirited reality of my youth on them. Might it be that in the structured play of today’s youth, playing outside of the box isn’t apropos? It’s no longer in – not cool?

I recalled how family had asked me to pick up a nephew, a high school senior, after basketball practice. “But it’s a seven-minute walk to the house,” I demurred. Upon giving in and making what amounted to a four-minute drive to the school, I noted that my nephew wasn’t the only one. In fact, most of the team was waiting to get picked up, as well. I was flabbergasted. What happened to the coolness of being independent – of being grown-up and not hanging on to mother’s apron?

Anything was better, in my day, even a school bus ride home. A mama’s boy was a sissy who wouldn’t get even an eyebrow of interest from the girls. “What’s going on?”

Indeed, organized events have taken over the present age. That is, children rarely take the initiative to make playtime on their own. It’s precooked. The clock ticks
away at the timelines of youth without a child ever knocking on a neighbor’s door to ask: “Can Ted or Sally come out to play?”

The question molded more than one generation. When I used to peddle off, after breakfast, on my Ross bicycle I would only return to the sound of the dinner bell. Packed between two meals were a solid four or five hundred minutes of stickball, soccer, softball, touch football, kickball and, even, golf. Whoever, showed up in the school yard, boy or girl, participated. It made no difference. A right fielder was always in demand. There was no time for getting fat or even chubby despite plates being licked clean, when no one was looking, of course! There were no cell phones yet everyone knew, when and where, the action was, even if it meant a little extra peddling around the neighborhood. Quite the relic of a memory!

Children still participate in team sports but they’re mostly soccer-mom-structured. Today’s uniforms, which we would have loved to have had, lack home-spun
creativity. Isn’t necessity the mother of invention? What life lessons are there when children take everything for granted and when they’re shuttled like livestock, back and forth, between venues.

A metastasis of political correctness is the presentation of trophies to all participants so as to not discourage the 98 percent who are less than the best. In other words, a reward for outstanding merit and achievement has been merged into the collective, tolerant whole rendering it meaningless. I knew one fat kid in the neighborhood. He wasn’t fat by today’s standards, just a little on the chubby side, yet we called him “fatso” and he was none-the-worse for the honesty. In fact, truth proved to be a motivator because by the time that he entered 7 th Grade, he was as slim as the rest of us.

Mothers did what they had to do – they cooked complete meals, they oversaw homework and chores, they rarely complained about housework, and, if for any reason one breadwinner wasn’t earning enough, they took jobs. They sacrificed for the good of family. Do children need anything more than the demonstration of such dedication and love? Are children better off with so-called liberated mothers, indoctrinated with the propaganda line that their interests come first? How many of society’s ills are spawned by the absence of love from parents?

Without any doubt, baby boomers were leaps and bounds healthier than children, today. No one made sonogram wall posters of fetuses in shopping malls. We
weren’t injected with dozens of vaccines. The sugar cube containing the polio vaccine was about it. Food allergies were extremely rare until mothers were told that formula was healthier. Autism had yet to enter the dictionary. If a child had more than one cold per season, it was likely that the father was a physician.

How many grandparents, looking at the present-day child glued to a gadget, think: “What is to become of this generation?” Is it not a bold experiment? It might be a risky prognosis but the seeds of collectivization are being sown in America with a capital “C.” Followers are being reared, not leaders with initiative, creativity, and courage. Creature comforts make for soft minds to be sculpted by left-leaning professors.

Actually, creativity still has a place but it’s on a screen, which is not necessarily applicable to problem solving in the real world. The life lessons of fishing or camping under inspirational, starlit nights isn’t part of the touch screen algorithm for success. Today’s generation will learn the genetic sequence of a fish gene with the aid of the right app but will children be able to distinguish between a bluefish and a catfish without Google? Or know how to catch a fish, should doomsday hunger ever reshuffle priorities, overnight?

At one point, a little before Clinton & Clinton absconded with the White House furniture, I wanted my children to witness a real Christmas Eve with carols and with all of the stops pulled out. I decided on the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, recalling warm impressions from youth. But I wasn’t prepared for what was served-up.

Instead of celebrating Christmas Eve, we found ourselves in something resembling a pagan Roman, Earth Day circus with overtones of a gay rights parade. When a blessing of the plants and caged animals began – including the blessing of the Devil in the spirit of tolerance, symbolized by a ten-foot-long python shouldered in by several, semi-clad lads in crepe and nylons – I stretched and tugged with haste for the exit. But we were blocked by an elephant, yes, an elephant that had just made its entrance into the cathedral. My mouth dropped as the beast swaggered up the aisle to the alter, a poop bag, at the ready! Thank God, the elephant wasn’t being wed to a giraffe or we might have never squeezed our way out of the cathedral-turned-zoo.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to say to the children. I’m not making this up. Again, the sham of a Christmas Eve occurred in the late 90s. One dares not contemplate what takes place, today, in the Temple of God in the name of poor St. John the Divine. It begins to sink in why the heavens will sing “Hallelujah!” upon the destruction of the great city Babylon.

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his
servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. Rev. 19:1-3. Despite the non-denominational character of my elementary school, we learned the Lord’s Prayer and the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matt. 7-12. The rest of our introduction to Christian teachings was reserved for Sunday School. No fanaticism – it was bread and butter straighforward.

In First and Second Grades we read Ted and Sally, Dick and Jane, as well as Tuffy and Boots – solid, family-oriented constructions that foster a genuine sense of security in young children. What is upbringing without structure and discipline? I had my mouth washed out by my first-grade teacher for saying, “Shut-up,” after hearing someone else say it. It was the last time that I repeated words that I didn’t understand. Besides, it didn’t look good in the eyes of my crush to be yanked out of class in such disgrace.

First Graders played the role of angels in the nativity scene of the Christmas pageant. And towns weren’t sued over Nativity scene displays. Up to two hours of black and white TV were allowed, weekly, with programming consisting of The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin, Heidi, Lassie, and the Mickey Mouse Club. Time limits on cartoons were waived for a sick day, making it quite the holiday. TV-free household were not oddities. Divorces were for Hollywood and when they did take place they, somehow, touched children less than they do, today.

Returning to NYC, for a moment, I witnessed a three-year-old-something toddler on 5 th Avenue bus strike a female passenger. His mother responded with reasoning. “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”

Before she finished asking, he struck another passenger. And it went, on and on. The more that she reasoned, the more he hit people. No one batted an eyelash of admonishment. I watched Carnegie upbringing, in awe. Tempted as I was to intervene, I convinced myself that this is not only not my battle but also one that can’t be won.

When I witnessed a few boys, roughly seven years of age, trampling sand castles diligently constructed by several, younger girls, I ignored it until the same boys returned throwing sand. Laughing through the motions, they stomped, again, on repaired sand castles. With enough of a degree of intent for it to be understood that I meant business, I took each one by the arm and herded them off to their parents, higher up on the beach. I made it clear with an even firmer grip what I would do if they harassed small girls or threw sand, again.

“Don’t test me. I’ll make mincemeat out of you hooligans,” I exclaimed, loud enough for parents to hear. Needless to say, peace and quiet was restored to the lives of a few girls that summer day. The parents didn’t thank me. In fact, their looks and open-mouthed astonishment were defensive, even threatening, as if I was in the wrong. I’m quite certain that never, before, and never, since, have their boys been publicly reprimanded. Herein, lies the problem.

If you’re a Clinton Snowflake, I know that you’re thinking, “Stone Age Dinosaur! How dare he physically handle children that aren’t even his.” “Physical handing doesn’t have to draw blood,” I laugh, when Snowflakes get ruffled. It’s enough for children to respect hierarchy and to understand who lays down the rules and that violating them could be problematic.

If a car is rolling off a cliff, do you run after the car, open the door, and reach for the hand brake or do you tolerate the outcome because it’s not your car, hoping for the best?

On a fishing expedition, I happened to be surfcasting on an interesting beach. To my right was a lifeguard flag delineating a bustling beach with no small number of young people. Equidistant to my left was a clothing optional beach with the greater part of beachgoers being my age. Without understanding what was happening, a hubbub developed to my left. Amidst the shouts and the commotion, an armada of swimmers, floats and rafts forged though waves and currents, stretching some 100 yards into the cold ocean straight out from the point where I had been surfcasting.

A passerby informed me that someone had drowned.

Within 20 minutes, a limp, young man was pulled out of the surf, greyer than death. An ambulance had crossed the dunes and CPR was being administrated. Suddenly, a torrent of water poured out of the victim’s mouth. He was alive.

Reflecting on what I had just witnessed, the contrast between the reactions of the two groupings of beachgoers carved deep into the senses. Not one, athletic, young man from the textile beach, not even a lifeguard, had budged after word had spread that a person was drowning. I had been focused on surfcasting and, somehow, missed the opportune moment to take action. Considering how many first responders dove in on my left, both men and women, made it quite evident that enough persons from millennial grouping also had heard that someone was drowning but they didn’t react. Could it be that they, simply, couldn’t be bothered?

With the advent of the millennium, tolerance became the buzzword in the US.

Author Ted Flynn notes:

“It’s in the press, our grade schools, our universities, our community centers, our corporate environment, and nearly anywhere else that two or more are gathered. It surrounds us, and woe to the person who is insensitive to another’s ethnic, cultural, or religious orientation. This is all well and good but it has gone too far. We have many terms for it such as politically correct, exclusivism, inclusivism, modernism, ethical theism, postmodernism, universalism, and the favorite over the last five years, multiculturalism. Everybody wants their rights and usually it is at the expense of another. Politically correct has become a synonym for lack of truth, candor, and integrity… English author, G.K. Chesterton once remarked, “Tolerance is the virtue of man without convictions.” Flynn adds, “There is neither
right nor wrong – only tolerance.” The danger of a society that isolates itself from competing truth, says Chuck Colson, “is the inevitable descent into oppression and tyranny.”

Isn’t it interesting that no one is more intolerant than those who advocate tolerance? Biden, for one, came out of some closet, recently, saying Bible- believing Christians violate LGBTq rights simply by existing. Even more recently, again before a LGBTq audience, he called Trump supporters, “The dregs of society!”

It’s getting ugly. Bimbos of the Biden type are dividing rather than uniting. And with financing from Clinton and Soros, leftist hate and intolerance are driving Antifa, which despite the name, are fascists – the radical left’s variant of Hitler’s brown shirts. LGBT is also dividing. The majority of Americans believe that sexual orientation should not be an in-your-face, political movement. “Do what you want behind closed doors. Don’t impose your choice on others.” Be queer or straight, understanding that you’ll be answering for your choice before God.

Americans are learning to distinguish between Christian tolerance and politically correct tolerance. The former is common sense natural, an extension of Christian love; the latter artificial and dangerous because it restricts freedom by impinging on free speech, a prerequisite for tyranny. George Soros, a sociopath and, in so many of his own words a Nazi collaborator, is seeking revenge for his losses tied to picking the wrong presidential candidate, which is one reason why he is behind Antifa.

Today, Antifa is committing terrorist acts against monuments and private property. Tomorrow, it’s not excluded that radical left agenda handlers will demand blood. If you happen to be a plain vanilla Deplorable or if you’re an independent or a libertarian, guided in life by a love of liberty, common sense, and service to country, family, and God, you probably know and appreciate from firsthand experience what life was like in a free America.

Restraints on freedom have been encroaching on Americans from the day that the Federal Reserve was established in 1913 and after a federal income tax was
introduced. When Clinton & Clinton took over the White House, they accelerated the loss of individual liberties faster than any predecessor. The transformation of America into a collectivist state was supposed to be completed with Queen Hillary’s coronation as president.

If founding fathers, Hamilton and Jefferson, didn’t trust the intellect of the people in electing a leader, with the former calling the people, “a great beast,” and the latter referring to fellow Americans with disdain as “rubbish,” (in his Notes on the State of Virginia), little has changed. Columnist Louis René Beres writes: “Upon even the most cursory examination, our foundational political history will reveal an utterly stark contempt for popular rule.”

Obama-Clinton & Clinton with their radical left agenda are the legacy of the hypocritical disdain of “ordinary” people by America’s ruling elite. Clinton’s Deplorables tag and Obama’s supremacist exceptionalism sum up the same. The Democratic Party purports to be the Party of minorities and of the underprivileged whose rights are often violated or ignored. Socialism is, supposedly, humanistic. But it’s a naïve, billboard view of the Democratic identity, starting with the fact that almost all major wars in the past 100 years were started by War Party presidents. Truman, a Democrat, is the only world leader who detonated nuclear weapons on civilian populations.

Are higher taxes humanistic for those who work? The day after liberals are elected, their telephone numbers change, à la NY Senator Chuck Schumer, who is on record for making the fastest telephone number switch. How he loves to escape addressing the needs of ordinary citizens! Good luck to the downtrodden in getting through to such defenders of democracy. The sober reality of the Democratic Party’s cynicism was exposed in a comment made by Bill Clinton:

“We can’t be fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans,” (USA Today, 03/11/93). Bill Clinton said it less than two months after he was sworn in as president. Oh, how countenances change after power paints over personalities and money struts into bank accounts. Unfortunately, imperium upstart types are the rule in democracies, not the exception. What is to become of America if the agenda of the radical left becomes America’s
agenda? It won’t happen. That is, not unless the US becomes a dictatorship and a radical left junta takes over.

We have witnessed the Trump miracle and, with it, the logical end of US democracy. Trump is not responsible for its end. Instead, it’s democracy that has failed because of the intolerance of Obama and Clinton for any views but their own. The notion that majority rules doesn’t work when the majority exerts its will on the minority’s religious tenets or on traditional family values. As already underscored, compromise, the cornerstone of US democracy, becomes unworkable when the Godless impose their views on the sacred, making US institutions, largely, irrelevant.

Trump won the presidency by a hair of a few states. But demographics don’t bode well for conservative and traditional values because of migrants, who vote for the welfare state of the Democrats, and because of the radical left agenda that has monopolized the minds of university-educated youth, a success consistent with Hillary’s efforts to radicalize educational and cultural entities. Much talk exists about the polarization of America, increasingly hostile relations, and the risk of civil war. Despite heightened passions, youth are not willing to die for a cause called Clinton. At least, not yet.

A dictatorship can be a more effective form of government for business considering that the dictator is free to enact legislation without the restraints of Congress. If the economy is good, foreign wars aren’t needed. Finally, the dictator is above money, considering that, he or she, is in power for life, so it’s not necessary to steal from coffers or to stash away bribes for a rainy day.

The US is about to become either a benign dictatorship of the right or a radical dictatorship of the left. It’s up to Trump and his supporters to recognize the fact and to seize the opportunity while it’s still possible.

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Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

Here is an interesting look at the health of America’s democracy compared to that of other nations:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-health-of-democracy-in-america.html

While both sides of the political spectrum in the United States have expressed their concerns over the fairness of the upcoming mid-term elections (Democrats over vote suppression and Republicans over voter fraud) and Washington as a whole clearly stating its belief that Russia, China and Iran are meddling in the 2018 electoral circus, the fact that democracy itself is under threat in America is cleverly never mentioned by either side.

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

I was surprised by the article’s statement that Jefferson called his fellow Americans “rubbish”. It doesn’t sound at all consistent with what I know of Jefferson’s beliefs and way of expressing himself. So I looked up the text of “Notes on the State of Virginia”, and found that the word “rubbish” occurs only once in the fairly long document. Here it is, in context: “Of the boys thus sent in any one year, trial is to be made at the grammar schools one or two years, and the best genius of the whole selected, and continued six years, and the… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

The following extract gives a better impression of Jefferson’s attitude to “the common people”, and why he was so anxious to make sure the most talented should get the best education. He was in favour of a thoroughgoing meritocracy, and always upheld the virtues and rights of the ordinary people against those of the rich and powerful. “It becomes expedient for promoting the public happiness that those persons, whom nature has endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow… Read more »

Regula
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Regula

While that all intends to further talent, the reverse side of it is elitism – which is precisely what we now have. Add money and only the rich get a good elementary education from which “to be educated for governance of the people”.

Jefferdon’s System only works if all education including university is free. Nor does it take the effect of slums and ghettoes on child development into account.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

R.I.P.

Walter Dublanica
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America ain’t as nice as it used to be 70/80 years ago. Presidents Roosevelt and Mc Arthur were loved. Truman & Kennedy were liked. Kennedy’s assassination saddened America. The Congress was respected, now it is abhorred .

Regula
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Regula

This author is very religious, but democratic law is based on human rights and by necessity supercedes and displaces religion.

Nicholas Sampsidis
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Nicholas Sampsidis

Greetings, this is Nicholas, the author responding. You’ve touched upon the golden question, namely, what is higher, the Constitution or the law of God (natural law)? It seems that the Supreme Court debates the same issue and the opinion depends on who sits on the bench. For believers, it’s self-evident that the law of God is higher than the Constitution. Let it be remembered that the 180 Articles of the Weimar Constitution, were also based on rights, with 109-118 setting forth individual rights (not radically different from those in the US Constitution). History reveals that, in the end, the folly… Read more »

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