The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life
For those of us who find nature to be both aesthetically beautiful and life-sustaining.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Waking Up America: A Fight For Your Second Amendment Rights

"America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw; confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law."
Excerpt from "America The Beautiful"
(Sherr, 77)

Our modern American society is, in essence, in it's adolescence and has wandered far from its revolutionary roots. America the "great," in infancy, was the spawn of exploration, revolution, desire for change, preparedness, tenacity, will, determination and an overall survivor-mindset. Founded on concepts such as liberty and law, America was the ultimate survivor. America knew how to overcome tumultuous odds and grew to be something that instilled pride in everyone that called themselves "American." America had an immeasurable spirit of positive, forward direction.

There is a sense of urgency in the necessity for our modern nation to re-read these words, written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1893, later used in the anthem "America the Beautiful." Words speak volumes. Words and phrases such as "self-control," "liberty," and "law" have a definite meaning and understanding that should not be easily debatable or misunderstood. And, yet, bring forth 2014, and one would rarely include the phrase "self-control" in lyrics intended to describe America, the supersized-McCapital of the world, the instant-gratification nation.

This once great nation of integrity, ability, perseverance and strength both mentally and physically, has germinated into a society comprised of sleeping citizens. While the media and other activist groups are attempting to teach us to be materialistic, egocentric, and narcissistic, we are becoming intentionally distracted and disconnected from our roots. This systemic-disconnect equates to a modern culture of lost identity, disappointment, disillusion and ultimately citizen disarmament as we continue to follow the masses and sleep at the wheel. 

Our founders had to work together with a sense of community that is non-existent today. Our modern, technological gadgetry and shattered focus has successfully distracted us to the point of indifference to who we are, where we are, where we are going and even what could happen to us if we don't wake up.

Where are we now?

America we must stand together and let no one attempt to break our true American spirit. For many, the skills and the passion are no longer in-tune with our former greatness and grassroots. We, sadly, are becoming a nation of self-entitled, disconnected individuals in a mass-pursuit of pleasure over planning. Some are content to live blindly in the present with relatively little regard for the possibilities of tomorrow. They do not plan ahead. They do not believe they have to work hard for anything as they assume that things will always come easily or someone will spare them or save them from their own foolish choices. They have completely lost connection with what it means to truly work for something. They have lost their will and devalued tenacity.

Americans are now being taught as children that we are all winners with little to no effort. We all get a trophy if we were present and participated and everything is fair. There are no losers. Everyone wins equally. How did our pioneer roots and previous hard-working, predecessors that built this country with blood, sweat and tears culminate in "participation ribbons?" Americans are busily raising young Americans with the modern philosophy of "life is always fair" and "always equitable" and "everyone plays nice."

We are now forced to debate, protect and defend our own second amendment right to bear arms. We are being taught early that people all play fair, life is filled with love, squish and bubble-gum drops. This is unequivocally not true and by giving up your arms you risk giving up your own freedoms and safety. And, when bad people do bad things with a weapon, we are being taught that the weapon is the bad guy and that guns themselves bring evil. Where is the accountability on the bad guy? While the media focuses your attention on their anti-gun agenda, your second amendment rights are being challenged. Your own right to defend yourself is in jeopardy.

 One evening of watching the world news and we can quickly surmise that the world IS a dangerous place. We do not have to be afraid, or always expecting trouble, but it would be a disservice to not inform ourselves that there are dangers in this world. Our founders allowed us the right to take care of ourselves should we need to. The modern world is different, but it is not safer. We would be even more foolish now than in our country's formative years to trust that the government or other agencies will always take care of us if we are in trouble. In chaos, whether that chaos is driven by a natural disaster or a man-made disaster, when it gets bad the are on your own after a point.

Historically, life is rarely fair and rarely does everyone "play nice." So, where does this new philosophy get us?  No one knows the long-term ramifications yet, but we do have a lot of those "participation ribbons" hanging on the walls to prove to ourselves and others that we are "special" even though we didn't do much of anything to earn them. We just showed up and we were given a ribbon for our sheer presence. 

The world doesn't function that way. The business world doesn't even function that way. What are we really teaching? We are teaching our American youth that they do not have to try, they do not have to have the guts to gain the glory. They do not have to fight for anything not even their own constitutional rights. This is nonsensical. Hard work, grit and tenacity are what America was founded upon and if we want to remain a great country, it is imperative that we get back to valuing the qualities, characteristics and respect for "sweat equity" that we once all shared.

The pioneers and the modern-day survivalists:

Survivalists, preppers and others that plan and prepare and recognize that the world is a wonderful, beautiful place that has inherent dangers and risks are more in sync with our founders than most other distracted, Americans. Perhaps if catastrophe occurs, these characteristics and this gumption will come out in all Americans again. Survivalists recognize the risks in neutering ourselves via over-confidence and lack of preparation, skill and training and buying into a philosophy of "someone else will protect me," "someone else will save me" or worse yet, "nothing bad will ever happen to me." America would not be here as it is today had our founders sat back and expected everything would just work and the only thing required of them is to just show up.

Americans have had a nice ride, but like all good things, if you take that easy-ride for granted, you can lose it. We need a country to be proud of again. We need to be the epitome of the "American spirit" again. We need to "confirm thy soul in self-control" again by recognizing and responding to the need to get in touch with our American foundation: respect for our constitution, respect for hard work, respect for planning ahead, respect for preparation and then, and only then, (and only occasionally) should we sit back in our lazy chair, setting up our fifth smart phone and stuffing our face with a Big-Mac.

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Lyrics at top of essay: Written by Katherine Lee Bates
Excerpted from: Sherr, Lynn. "America the Beautiful; The Stirring True Story behind Our Nation's Favorite Song." New York Public Affairs, 2001. Print.

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