It seems fitting somehow that this year there is no barbeque, no celebration around here, for I cannot remember a time when I have been so pessimistic. I was brought up to love this country. To my child eyes, it was a magical place, a place of wonder, of perfection even, a ready contrast to the long night of repression already falling on the country of my fathers.
The United States stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity. I watched my parents, their friends, arrive with barely the clothes on their backs, wash dishes, bus tables, work in factories, start little businesses and rise- move out to the suburbs, send their children to college, and in essence achieve the American Dream. There was no affirmative action for them. No one provided scholarships to Yale or Harvard, which wouldn't have let them mow the lawn let alone enter their hallowed halls- no matter what intelligence or ability their maker had given them. No, they achieved what they did through the sweat of their brow, by dint of countless hours of work and careful use of their resources.
Although I long ago realized that my country is not faultless, I have never wavered in my belief that the United States represents the best that the government of men has to offer. So it is with a heavy heart that I see the country in which I grew up evaporating before my eyes. We grovel in front of those who would hurt us, apologize where no apology is required, align ourselves with the forces of repression in some cases and kowtow in others. Our Congress is pestilential, awash in a tide of corruption practiced with impunity; our ship of state is navigated by fools and scoundrels.
Soon we are to be told what we can ingest, what we can drive, when we can sell our homes. All of these fiats will be enforced with all the might and power, through legislation and tax policy, of the government. Candidate Obama once complained of the Constitution that it was a document of negatives when it came to the powers of the government, as if it were a failing on the part of the founding fathers and not an intentional omission. Those far-sighted men did not offer supplemental income, tuition, health insurance. They promised nothing but life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One can only imagine what they would think of the nonsmoking, bran-eating, seatbelt wearing, New York Times reading public potentates who would decree how the rest of us should live.