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America: Welcome to the Third World

We left America at the end of the Reagan years to work in Ecuador. When we came back to the States in 2000, we were shocked at how different everything was. Nothing, however, prepared us for the continual decline we’ve experienced in the last 16 years as “the land of the free” has grown more and more like a third world country.

What do I mean America is like a third world country? Yes, we still have numerous “freedoms” sadly lacking in most Third World nations; however, there are several eerie similarities that clearly shows the changing nature of our country:

  • Darker city streets and highways
  • Lack of variety in stores
  • Empty store shelves
  • “political correctness” eroding freedom of speech
  • loss of jobs for talking against the government or government edicts
  • government insurance and taxes taking half of one’s salary
  • health care that requires longer wait time for less services
  • too many rules and regulations hindering the ability to start up a new business or keeping an existing one going
  • no middle class

The list goes on. The point is we have nearly reached critical mass, where the consumers have outnumbered the producers and the producers bear the brunt of keeping things going. There are several reasons for this downward decline, but one glaring reason is the number of politicians running our country. The founding fathers never meant for politicians to rule. They meant for people to rule. Folks who understood the pinch of making ends meet, of eating beans and rice for dinner, of dreaming of a better future for their children.

Tuesday is election day. A chance for change. So instead of voting for a party, or voting for a politician, or the lesser of two evils, vote your conscience. You aren’t “losing your vote.” If you vote for the same old same old or to keep the other guy out, you’ve already lost your vote and a chance at turning things around.

This country was built on risk takers.

Be a risk taker. Vote your conscience.

 

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July 4th

After spending 10 years overseas, I’m a little more aware of July 4th and its significance than I ever was growing up in the USA with all the parades, fireworks, picnics, etc. Being overseas made me appreciate things I often took for granted and some days have to make a concerted effort to remember:

*running water

*electricity on demand

*free public education for everyone

*respect and dignity for the handicapped

*respect and dignity for women

*freedom to worship

*freedom to speak a dissenting opinion

Looking in from the outside, I can see the erosion of our personal liberties and freedoms, but what is most alarming is the apathy of our citizens. Because we have not fought and struggled for our liberty, because we have not suffered under oppression, because we have not seen life outside our own borders, we do not value freedom and liberty and we do not understand the terrible prices that were paid, even though we study about them in school.

So today I give a heartfelt thank you to all our service men and women for their sacrifices to keep our borders safe and our liberty unchecked. I thank their families for their sacrifices in missed birthdays and Little League games while Mom or Dad are gone, the struggles of the parent at home to hold the fort and keep the home fires burning.

America hasn’t always done the right thing or made the right choices, especially in the past few years as politics and peer pressure dictateslifestyles, but I am still proud to be an American. In spite of the internal problems, America is still the place of choice for immigrants; it is still a beacon of hope to the oppressed, the downtrodden, the tired and weary, and those seeking a better future.

 

Why Governments Don’t Work

Anywhere you find people, you will find some form of government; something designed to maintain order, protect the citizenry, and build wealth. However, governments by their very nature don’t work.

The problem is all forms of government are created from a flawed idea: the idea that there are inherently good people who have the best interests of others at heart and are willing to work to that end. The reality is that humans are fallible and government officials are human. It’s also why political television series are so popular and the public loves a good scandal. And while this makes for interesting television, it makes for bad reality.

Most politically oriented television series proceed from a faulty premise: that good is weaker than evil and principles aren’t powerful. Again, this makes for good television, but bad government.

America’s founding fathers seemed to understand this; which is why they framed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from a position of rationality rather than emotion. They chose to limit lawmaking and governmental power because they understood that in spite of best intentions, those laws would eventually be used by people who had personal agendas or axes to grind or just worked from a position of sheer greed.

I believe in government. It is something we must have to survive, but it doesn’t always work. In spite of this, life goes on as usual for common folk no matter what country they live in. And flaws and problems not withstanding, America’s form of government is still the best there is.

It is the best simply because the founding fathers created a form of government which despite the machinations of poor leaders or inefficient officials still could move the country forward and sustain a measure of liberty and freedom, while protecting its citizens. It is a system of government that manages to protect people under flawed, selfish leaders and to elevate people under leaders of integrity.

As long as there is a Constitution and a Declaration of Independence, there will be an America; there will be a place of hope for generations to come.

America’s Favorite Restaurant

An iconic institution for my family is Denny’s.  Our relationship with Denny’s began when my husband and I were newlyweds and needed a “fancy” restaurant that didn’t break our pocketbook. Back then, Denny’s offered up a fantastic entree, salad, sides and dessert for $10. For seminary students on a tight budget, this was almost too-good-to-be-true. Not to mention their fantastic Grand Slam breakfasts for under $4!

Then came the kids and again, Denny’s came to our rescue.  Family friendly with a laid back atmosphere, Denny’s didn’t mind our crew of rambunctious offspring and we could fill them up for a reasonable price. Denny’s also didn’t mind how long we stayed and kept the coffee cups full.

So it’s no surprise that when planning a date night, more often than not Denny’s is our choice of restaurant. It’s got a down home charm all its own, with friendly waitresses, is always open no matter the time of day or night, with quick service and the food is still excellent and affordable.

Sorry if this sounds like free advertising, but Denny’s is all about memories for my family and me. This is where we met with friends from far away to catch up on our lives. This is where we ate out with our children and had fun just being together.  This is where we hung out with our college kids and their friends. Denny’s is where I can spend a romantic evening with my husband, talking, sharing and not competing with overly loud music or blaring televisions.

Denny’s is a symbol of what America still is among rural, small town communities. Denny’s is where we can always come home, even when we aren’t at home.

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