Years ago, when I was particularly depressed about something stupid going on in government, I had to leave the office and go pick up the kids from school.
At the time, we lived in a tiny mountain town near Colorado Springs, and it was a fine late Spring day. As I walked to the school, five blocks away, I saw people out working on their roofs, people planting their gardens, people taking their pets for walks, people driving for a volunteer organization that drives the elderly around, people going about their lawful business in every possible way.
And suddenly, like an epiphany, I realized that our “elites” including the presstitutes and the supposed intellectual heights of academia, are among some of the most corrupt in the world, but the people? The people are all right.
This is the reason why, despite our terrible institutions we’re not Somalia or Venezuela or even Brazil. Our politicians are fully that corrupted, doing and saying anything for the sake of holding on to more power. But we’re different.
How different? I’ll give you the two ways that made me fall in love with America:
1- for now, in most places — this is changing and it’s a worrying trend — we are law abiding, and more importantly respecting of other’s property. Every time I go to Portugal, you can fold more of your car and take it away with you, to prevent people from breaking in to steal it: radio, gps, steering wheel. (I can’t remember if you could actually remove the steering wheel, or if I dreamed it after the last time.) In most places I’ve lived in the US, including some large cities, you could leave your car door unlocked all night and nothing would happen. In the place Older Son has been living (which is more than a little dicey) he couldn’t leave the door unlocked, because his car would get boosted, but even there no one is taking away the radio, or the gps from the car, for fear of having it broken into. And there are no extortionists threatening to scratch your parked car if you don’t pay protection.
More important is the stuff American-born people don’t even think about. You guys put out garden decor, and Christmas lights, and stuff, and it never occurs to you that it could be stolen. For instance, right now we have our entire patio set sitting up in front of the (full of stuff) garage. Why? Because it’s going in the back porch, which will be rebuilt in August or September, maybe. So, right now the stuff is on the driveay, which means ANYONE could just walk out with it without so much as a “by your leave.” In Portugal, the set (fairly expensive, we bought it back when we were well off, before the 2000 crash) would already be gone. Most countries in the world it would already be gone. Which is why people have walls and fences and gates.
I know it’s getting scarier some places, but so long as things don’t get stolen if you don’t nail them down, we’re all right.
2- We roll up our sleeves and do what needs to be done.
When we were first married, Dan did all the car maintenance, and I learned to do all the house maintenance. I had a leg up as I’m incurably curious and had followed ever workman around, when they came to repair something. But here’s the thing: what we did would have been considered humiliating and beneath our station in most places in the world. We were college educated and trained for jobs of the mind. We should have been sullen and upset at being “forced” to work with our hands.
Actually we both rather enjoyed it, and it often served as a break from my trying to break into publishing and Dan’s often grueling coding job, in those early days. We’d wonder around on weekends doing sweaty-work, with a song in our hearts (you don’t want me to have a song in my lips. No, trust me) because we were doing what needed to be done and taking care of business. When you’re young and low man on the totem pole in your job, or in my case, locked totally outside it, you need stuff you can control, and we controlled our home improvement and car repair. (I think I improved our starter home within an inch of its life. Never mind.) “Deal with that sh*t” became our watchword.
Now, I know that lots of people here, too, think they’re “too good to–” or that hard physical work will kill them. BUT the majority don’t. Not only do we have DIY solutions everywhere we turn, but our natural instinct on seeing something that needs done is to deal with it: not wait on someone better off/worse off/with the right credentials. We just “deal with that sh*t.”
Yes, our politics are a mess, a combination of the fact that we’re NOT as a rule a very political people, being too busy with the business of living and building something better for our children and grandchildren. Be serious: would you like every one to obsess on politics as, say, I do? They’d never get anything done. Surgeons and engineers would need to check instapundit in the middle of vital work. Be real.
So people who aren’t very plugged in let themselves be duped by the presstitutes and the power-hungry politicians. What else is new?
We are fractionally more awake and involved than in the early twentieth century, and believe it or not, this horrible election not withstanding, we’re much better off than we were 100 years ago, when it comes to not believing in collective solutions; when it comes to rolling up our sleeves and dealing with political cr*p; when it comes to finding other news sources and not going along with the majority. If you don’t think so, you’ve not read any memoirs from a century ago.
This country was founded on and will continue to be a struggle between those who want to give power to the government and those who want to be left alone. As long as the struggle continues, we’re fine. It’s when we go to sleep under the boot of the oppressor that we are done for.
As long as the people still do for themselves, as long as the answer to “my roof is leaking” is not “call the government” hope is not lost.
Yeah, our kids are a little more lost than older people, but be fair to them, they were indoctrinated like no generation here before (about like mine was, back in Portugal. BTW, after we hit our thirties we turned into the most ‘leave us the heck alone’ generation the country had ever seen. Which admittedly isn’t much, but you have the culture of the country to contend with) and they are the richest generation in the richest country the world has ever known. Compared to the rest of humanity, they’re all scions of nobility. And compared to those, by and large, our kids are all right. And they tend to find their way out of indoctrination before forty. We can’t ask for more.
So let’s go out today and celebrate the shot heard around the world; that sweet air of liberty which is still shaping us today and which offers us hope for the future.
Nations shouldn’t live under the grinding yoke of a foreign power. And individuals shouldn’t live under the dictates of an impersonal, far away government.
Both should roll up their sleeves and deal with their own sh*t themselves.
As our British “relatives” are finding just now. They too have discovered the joys of an independence day.
This could become addicting. For all the world. And it would be a good thing. Below is a hokey speech, from a hokey movie, both of which never fail to bring tears to my eyes.
To our blinkered elites, and everyone who thinks the “common people” can’t be trusted be it with guns, with words, with opinions, with free association, with life, liberty and the pursuit of independence:
Yes, we know the world faces many problems. This is why you should stop joggling our elbows. Leave us alone. Let us deal with that sh*t.