Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sweet Caroline

Forty years ago, we were proud of our country because 

  • we were sending men to the moon, 
  • we had not only been an important factor in winning World War II, but we had helped rebuild our defeated foes into freer and healthier societies, 
  • we were defending the world against the spread of godless Communism, and
  • our founding documents showed the greatest wisdom in balancing the need for a just order with the need for freedom.
I turned on the radio this morning to find that today people are proud of America because fans of the Boston Bruins know the words to "The Star Spangled Banner" and baseball parks across the country played "Sweet Caroline".  Both of these are nice, mind you, but not really much of a foundation for national pride.

  • We now can't even send a man into orbit without buying a lift on a Russian Soyuz.  It is not at all clear when or if we will get back into manned space flight; there are currently no plans with sufficient support and momentum to withstand the end of a president's term.
  • We have spent the last decade and more fighting wars with no clear aims.  Even before the wars are over, we have tried to "rebuild" the fractious states of our foes according to political traditions that are alien to them in the hope that they will elect governments that mirror American values.  The results have been predictably poor.
  • The president of Russia is now more likely to invoke God, as he did in response to the explosion of a meteor on Feb. 15, than is the president of the United States.
  • It is safe to say that respect for the US Constitution is lower today than at any other time in American history.
    • Freedom of religion is under attack in various ways.
    • So is the Second Amendment.
    • The idea of Congress actually declaring a war is a joke.  Now the president declares wars, and he dares Congress not to rally behind him.
    • The Bill of Rights still protects the individual from the government.  Unless, that is, the government decides to call the individual an "enemy combatant", a decision that cannot be appealed and that has the effect of depriving the individual of all rights, civil and human.
    • Oh, and the Bill of Rights does not apply to US territory outside the 50 states.  However, other parts of the Constitution, such as the fact that the president is the commander-in-chief of the military, apparently still do hold there.

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