Sunday, January 13, 2013

Losing Perspective

What separated America from the rest?  What made us extraordinary?  What have we lost that has caused us to lose our way?  The answer is our reverence for freedom and the responsibility that is intrinsically linked to it.  The human spirit yearns to be unrestricted, released to find its place in this world.  America was founded and structured to not only allow this, but embrace it.  Our deep belief in the notion of freedom being an inalienable right, the passion with which we defended it, and the veneration we paid to it was unequalled.  Nurturing God given potential was the fuel of our national engine.  Limits were simply challenges not yet conquered.  Our short history had a recurring theme of achievement running through it, and was the essence of our nation’s rapid rise in prominence.  When a people are unrestrained by societal and governmental suppression to explore the limits of their potential, previously unimaginable accomplishments are the result.  By embracing this concept we became the stuff of legends.  Can’t was our ultimate motivation.  Success was celebrated and pursued.  Effort was expected of all and demanded of the very best.  Time and again the result was we did what others would not or could not.  We were the ones others looked to in their time of need, while friend and foe alike respected us.  We shined and our torch kept the darkness at bay. 

Unfortunately, as all great civilizations do, reverence has been replaced by a lack of appreciation.  That which we once celebrated and aspired to is now a source of scorn.  Today, envy and blame are the accolades we heap on those that have succeeded.  In a vain effort to alleviate ourselves of disappointment, we support politicians that pander to our growing sense of victimization and entitlement by telling us that we are failing only because others have stolen our piece of success.  Robin Hood rises again, and somewhere along the way, success has become both owed and finite.  Ambition, once an essential trait in the pursuit of achievement, is discouraged.  In its place has grown the noxious weed of complacency, fed by a steady stream of fertilizer in the form of a failed socialist ideology of dependence.

Foolish does not begin to describe the current state of our nation.  We, the people are ensuring our irrelevance and in doing so are bringing about the rapid decline of the last vestige of true self-rule.  Our emerging destructive behavior so clearly evidenced over the last several elections and manifesting itself in our current ineffectual and disastrous elected government body, proves emphatically that Americans lack the fortitude necessary to be the responsible and knowledgeable citizens  a successful and sustainable democratic republic requires.  We are sealing our fate and dooming future generations to an existence of increasing oversight and dependence on an ever expanding governmental machine.  As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words, and our actions clearly divulge we have lost faith in ourselves.  We no longer embrace the awesome blessing of a destiny of our own choosing, for the effort it necessitates and the possibility of failure it allows pales in comparison to an alluring alternative of being provided for by others and in turn being able to blame others for a life that fails to meet expectations.  Mediocrity is just so much easier than exceptional while denial is a nice distraction for regret.  

The society envisioned by our founders and the ideals they enshrined in our Constitution support self-determination, the truest and highest form of freedom.  However, we no longer want self-determination, we no longer appreciate it.  Self-determination demands personal responsibility and responsibility is quickly becoming passé.  I know I have written about this many times before, but the importance of responsibility cannot be overstated in its necessity to a society and citizenry that wants to remain the determining factor in their own fate.  Keen politicians, our recently reelected president in particular, recognize this and have seized upon it to great effect.  Qualifications, experience, and a record of leadership are no longer the defining factors we use to select our elected leaders.  Those that relieve us of the burden culpability, those that give us an excuse or villain now claim our votes.  A truly sad and damning commentary, but one that provides great insight into why American exceptionalism and freedom are quickly diminishing and with it our place as the standard to which all other nations aspire.  It seems we are buying into the socialist narrative that being one of the mediocre many is much more virtuous than being the one the many enviously desire to be.

American society is digressing.  We have become the national equivalent of a petulant teenager demanding the trappings of adulthood without the maturity to recognize the burdens of responsibility that come with adulthood. Evidence of this diminishment is easy to find.  A very telling barometer is the rhetoric of our elected leaders.  Politicians must tap into that which results in the voters’ support for it is their very lifeline.  We once rallied to calls for selflessness and carrying on the legacy of being human civilization’s great light of defiance.  Inspiration was drawn from being challenged and the result was achievement on a historic scale.  Now many are motivated by a very different tone of oratory.  Gone are words urging us to become better, replaced by venomous propaganda rousing only envy and discontent.  It is no longer about striving to be a better people and in turn a better nation, instead it is all about what we are owed, who is supposedly getting over at our expense, and that our salvation is only attainable through a campaign of revenge against the wealthy.  Iconic moments have been replaced by what are essentially unproductive therapy sessions where blame is assigned, villains created, and excuses are doled out for our collective mistakes. 

True freedom is a chance coupled with the obligation of being accountable for the outcome.  Freedom without responsibility rapidly devolves into anarchy or tyranny.  Recent events most certainly support the notion that we are on the fast track to one or both of these ends.  There is a price for everything, and something as valuable as choice has a very steep one.  The sacrifices made by those that came before us and being made today by a valiant few, make this very clear.  Freedom is fleeting in a world infested with forces constantly seeking opportunities to feed their ravenous addiction for increasing power.  Suppression is a very effective tactic in this effort, and when the people willingly comply by bartering away their freedoms in exchange for some misguided belief that government is the instrument for instituting universal fairness or the narrative that we need to be saved from ourselves, it is all the more so.  We are being careless with the Holy Grail that is America and in doing we are casting it to the ages.  Though we have not yet experienced the full fury of the coming storm we have wrought through abstention from our civic responsibilities, we will.  As the thundering wave of comeuppance crashes over us, there will be no one to save us and no one left to blame but those that were always to blame, ourselves.