While researching last week's column, I stumbled across a set of letters an American farmer wrote to a British friend around the time of the Declaration of Independence.-á There are 12 letters in all, and most are long with bizarre grammar. The third letter gave me pause to think.
-áIn that letter, the farmer talks about what it's like to be an American.-á The America he talks about is far different from the America of this millenium, but the gauge of what America is has not changed.-á So while sitting in my room on our Independence Day, looking out over the horizon at the multitude of firework displays going on around the west side of Muncie, I wrote out a bunch of largely random thoughts about America.-á I've tried to put some sort of continuum behind them, but they're more random thoughts than anything else.
An ancestor of mine came over on the Mayflower as an indentured servant, and it baffles me to think of what those people did to arrive here.-á It'd be like dropping out of college, losing all credits and going to the University of Bejiing, having not learned Chinese beforehand.-á It's amazing to think about what they did for the opprotunity for a better life.-á
-áBut we've lost that in America. Somewhere along the way our people developed a new philosophy toward life and government.
-áToday we expect to be taken care of.-á Government welfare programs have taken the place of personal gumption and desire to better oneself.-á People lie around all day, hooked on heroin and have a decent life because they get checks from the government-á.
I don't want you to think that I'm looking at any specific aspect of what our government has done, but we have allowed the government to define America.-á "We the People" has become "We the Government".-á America is NOT defined by its government. It's defined by the people, and we have allowed ourselves to become something less than the best.
-áIf you're one of those that believes the American dream is dead, I feel sorry for you.-á You're destroying yourself because you're afraid to fail.-á I originally was in college to become a doctor. And I would have made a good living, but I would've been a terrible doctor.-á Now, I'm here to be a writer.-á I know full well that I may never make more than a thousand dollars doing this, but I love doing it and am going to pursue it until the day I die.
If you're sitting in class right now and aren't pursuing what you most want to do in life, then get out of college because you're just wasting your time.
Be grateful to live in this country and to live with the opprotunities that America brings.-á Go to the deserts of Africa with nothing and try to start a successful business.-á You won't because you'll be spending all your time searching for food and water.-á Try going to China and talk about what its government does wrong.-á Anyone remember Tiananmen Square?
No, life is not perfect.-á If you hold a minority view in this country, you may not be included in every single aspect of our government (sorry, but "under God" is NOT a problem). There is no question that you will be free to practice your beliefs and your opinions and your way of life.-á And if any government organization tries to throw you in jail for something like a belief, then every American should stand up united behind that person for protection of their belief.-á You may not agree with it, but if they can throw that person in jail for a belief, then you can be thrown in jail for a belief you hold.
The American dream is NOT dead.-á Domino's, Dell, Microsoft, Ford, and just about any other corporation that I can think of started with the equivelant of about $500 and a desire to become the best at something.-á-á Point out all the times where employers have abused workers or have swindled corporations for billions of dollars, I don't care.-á Those are the faults of men, not the fault of the American economy, the American Dream, or America itself.-á Those people will be prosecuted and locked up in jail, and damn well they should be.-á The workers will survive.-á Some of them will have a rough time getting back on their feet, but there is no better place for them to get every cent back than in America.
And if you think socialism is the way to go, then go to East Berlin.-á I've been there.-á I've seen the miles and miles of dank, dark gray buildings with no porches, evenly spaced windows, no plant life, no color.-á Nothing.-á-á But, everyone has the same amount of nothing.-á
I guarantee you that if you brought anyone from that region and brought them to America, they'd be grateful at just the opprotunity to own a home and have a porch.
Don't take this country for granted, or it'll be gone before you even know it.