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A View From the Deck: What Happened?

In this installment of 'A View From the Deck', local author J. Wiley Dumas takes a critical look at today's society, and how much it has changed in his life.

I'm looking 55 right in the face, and there are times now that I find myself reflecting on my life, and my upbringing. Then I take a look at the way things are now, and all I can say is...

What Happened?

What happened to the America I grew up in? When did it change so much? When did we become so enamoured of the European/Socialistic way of life? When did we become more caring about how other countries viewed us rather than standing strong and resolute as a great nation? When did the populace become so weak as to allow our rights to be taken away? When did we allow government to dictate to us, rather than being our servant? When did we allow our children to become a generation of coddled, entitled, undisciplined miscreants unable and unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions? When did we become so rude and crass as to viciously attack others whose opinions varied from our own?

What Happened?

A few years ago, in one of my books, I coined a slightly-profane term to describe people of my age group and older; people that can remember a different time in America. A time when we were proud to BE Americans. As children, we could ride our bikes in our neighborhoods (without helmets, knee pads, etc) and have no worries of being abducted or molested, because neighbors looked out for one another. We had manners. We had respect for our elders. We said 'Please' and 'Thank you.' We paid attention in school because we knew that if we didn't, there would be dire consequences.

We attended church without shame, and we said Grace before meals. We respected differences of opinion. We knew our neighbors. We practiced charity at home FIRST. We supported our brave troops in distant lands. We punished those who committed crimes and respected the rights of the victims. We were strong. We were the United States of America.

What happened? What changed? When did we decide to go against the principals that our great nation was founded upon? Why do criminals have more rights than the victims? Why are non-citizen enemy combatants allowed to face trial under laws that are only for American citizens? Why are the nutcases allowed to commit heinous crimes and receive light sentences because they are deemed 'not responsible for their actions?' Why do we stand idly by and allow our rights to be taken away, little by little, by out-of-touch 'Rock Stars' that have been elected based on style rather than substance?

What Happened? 

We took a 'feel good' approach to raising our children. No longer could we discipline them for fear of being accused of 'abuse.' Rather, we gave them 'Time out', and allowed TV and video games to be their primary sources of learning societal 'values.' We took God out of the schools for fear that someone might be offended. We restricted the authority of teachers to provide discipline when needed. We began caring more about the views of other countries and dumping billions of OUR tax dollars into aid to nations that have corrupt governments and then do things to place our brave men and women serving there in danger.

What Happened?

We take all aspects of the media as truth, despite the fact that much of it is Op/Ed disguised as 'objective', and swoon at the ideology beamed into our homes each evening, or on the 24-hour 'News' services. We accept ALL media bias as 'truth', rather than questioning it. We celebrate celebrity. We worship technology, intertwining our lives in it. We know more about the Kardashians and the contestants on 'Dancing With the Stars' than we do about our next door neighbors. We care more about answering texts during mealtime than we do about talking to one another. We blame guns for violence, rather than the disturbed individuals that initiate the act. We desire to take away the rights of the law-abiding, rather than move toward stricter laws and punishment designed to curb violence by criminals. 

What Happened?

We listen to fear-mongering and 'Chicken Little' views spouted out by our 'leaders' and take it in as fact without researching the truths behind the issues (which is odd, because we research everything from washing machines to MP-3 Players). We discipline students for refusing to say the pledge of allegiance for OTHER COUNTRIES, yet see our own Pledge removed from schools all over the nation, for fear it might 'offend.' We've made 'Diversity', one of the building blocks of our nation, where it now stands separate, rather than coming together to form the whole.

What Happened?

America has changed, and for people of my age group, this change seemed to have occurred overnight, without warning. Perhaps it's because we allowed ourselves to become too soft, too out-of-touch with the direction our country was moving toward. We stopped getting involved. We stopped going to the polls to cast our vote, thinking "It doesn't matter." We became too comfortable in our lives. We (wrongly) believed that our nation would continue to hold the values it was founded upon.

Our country is still the greatest nation on earth, but in order for it to remain so, we have to get back in touch with the values and principals it was founded upon. We need to quit being lazy and comfortable. We need to speak out. We need to stand up for our belief system. For if we don't, a few years from now, people in other countries will be asking:

"Whatever happened to the United States of America?"

"Oh, it's a part of the EU now. China's using it for their strategic military bases."

Sic vis Pacem, Parabellum,

J. Wiley Dumas

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Liz Lukas March 06, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Ok, Kaptainsteve offers a statement that is fine its lofty goals. But not every instance of people coming together for mutual benefit falls into a dire compromise of Freedom with a capital F. Come on. The word "union" and "common" are found through the Constitution. And I remind the dear Kaptainsteve of the last words of the Declaration of Independence "... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." (capital letters in the original). If you dare label the founders a bunch of collectivists than you are beyond hope of reasoning.
Kaptainsteve March 07, 2013 at 12:04 AM
The Declaration of Independence is built upon the fundamental principle of inalienable rights. In short, inalienable, or natural rights are the rights we are born with that cannot be separated from us. These rights are not to be compromised to any degree and these rights are clearly enumerated in the D.O.I. as life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and later in the B.O.R., property. No one, no group be they unelected or elected majority or otherwise, has any right to take these rights away from any individual as long as this individual is not denying anyone or threatening anyone of their identical natural rights. This is the whole purpose of the D.O.I, The Constitution and and the Bill of Rights, to protect these rights and this concept from the tyranny of any group or majority. Natural rights are a NO COMPROMISE principle. Either you believe in freedom or you don't. It's like choosing between food and poison, or freedom and slavery, they are mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, most people today support collectivism and don't support freedom. They don't realize it, maybe due to cognitive dissonance, but in doing so they support slavery. They don't understand that taxation is theft. They don't understand that killing with drones is immoral. They don't appreciate that the bill of rights exists to protect the unpopular minority. They don't understand that the policies and politicians they support are the enemy of freedom. They are the enemy of freedom.
Kaptainsteve March 07, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Eric Holder on killing Americans in America with drones; "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.” Still think we're free? Where is the outrage from the Democrats or Republicans (besides Rand Paul)? The only reason this is accepted is the idea that because the majority supports it, it must be ok. This is yet another, and natural extension of collectivism where the ends always justify the means, ANY means. This logic can be used to justify anything and was used to justify slavery IN THIS COUNTRY and the democide of Native Americans, IN THIS COUNTRY. This is the true nature of the politics, policies, and progress of collectivism. If you don't believe in inalienable natural rights, then you believe that the ends justify the means, then you believe in collectivism, then you believe in slavery, then you don't really believe in anything at all except an "anything goes" society. http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/05/holder-drone-strike-against-americans-in-the-u-s-possible/ http://s24.postimage.org/4v3ssk8lh/Obama_Believes_In_Murder_Rand_Paul_Drones.png
Jane March 07, 2013 at 01:32 AM
If the posters here are a microcosim of the people who legislate for us, we are surely screwed.
Ed Froem March 07, 2013 at 01:40 AM
I'm not sure why MJ insists on posting under my screen name. I guess it's a reflection on lack of maturity or developmental issues.

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