We live in a culture of entitlement...
I believe it's true that there's a fine line between genius and insanity,that one mans ceiling can be another mans floor, and that at some point entitlement becomes "enablement." I understand that people have the capacity to be selfless at times, most commonly where our children are concerned, but beyond that it's actually quite rare. A couple of the things President Obama said in his address struck me as him taking the nature of humans (specifically Americans) to what I see as "undeserved heights."
an excerpt from his address...
"For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe- Sanh".
"Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction".
When he started talking about how "For us" people had done all of those things so that WE might live a better life a voice in my head said
"Oh baloney, they did it for themselves so THEY could live a better life"
It's kind of like people who say that they want their kids to live a better life than them or to have it easier than they did only to end up raising adults who have no understanding or appreciation of what it's taken all of these years to provide them with their cushy existence, robbing them of the vital life lessons that hardship or even hard work have to teach us. It's a fundamentally flawed notion if it excludes that greatest of all secrets, that the process of doing is integral to our fullfillment.
So what you're telling me (sir) is that all of those people made all of those sacrifices so that we as a nation could live the way we live now?
It just doesn't add up...
My point is this, If they really wanted their kids to have a better life they would of taught them about what gave life greater meaning to them instead of how to, as Obama said...
" seek only the pleasures of riches and fame".
President Obama went on to say...
"Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom".
Not these sit on your butt with too much time on their hands so they can figure out something to be unhappy about people who call themselves Americans today...
President Obama went on to say...
"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government".
No, I'm not questioning the scale of your ambitions, I whole heartedly applaud them! what I question is the American people's greatly compromised moral integrity. I don't understand how the ground has shifted in that respect.
I'm talking about the stock trader with his finger on the keyboard thats one stroke away from selling short a companies stock which will instantly make him rich and ultimately put thousands of people out of work.
I'm talking about the single perhaps drug addicted mother who's endured a life of abuse and unfairness. Who based on the circumstances she's been subjected to now feels entitled to continue to have children with as many men as she wants to, inflicting her vindication and rationalizations on our society in the responsibility she lays at our doorstep.
I could go on and on, but I won't. All of us have, in some way, rationalized our own self serving actions and my guess is that thats not going to change anytime soon.
"They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it "entitle" us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint".
seems like we missed the boat on just about all of those lately...
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
God Bless President Obama, for attempting to summon up the American peoples higher attributes... listen to what he says about our present situation and get a sense of the tight rope he's walking between telling us how it is,and what needs to happen to fix it, while at the same time scolding us as a nation for where we are.
Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
A return to these truths indeed, except I see it as the source of my doubt...that we the American people will choose that option.
This is a very stirring, mesmerizing even, conclusion...
"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."
America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America".
I'm not nearly as eloquent as whomever wrote the above, so I'll say this in as plain a way as I can...What President Obama doesn't understand is that the Americans who championed all of those qualities he mentioned that we must return to have mostly passed on. They were people who truly did have the grace of God upon them and his Holy Spirit dwelling within them.
perhaps this, from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians...
3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
At this precarious point in the history of our great nation we truly do need a miracle.
2 Chronicles 7:14
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.