“Is This America?”
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I watched with anger and dismay as the parent tried his best to put a question to a school board of some kind in a public meeting. He vehemently protested to the other parents in the room — “You are sitting here like cattle.” Then he said, “Is this America?” as he was roughly escorted from the room.
Many decades ago there was a joke circulated the world over that, I think, shows this incident in the light it deserves. I will relate that story as best I remember it for you now:
There was a gathering in Red Square in Moscow. Nikita Khrushchev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was addressing the gathered crowd. He was regaling them in glowing terms about the success of socialism/communism in the USSR when he decided to emphasize the current prosperity of the soviet people. He shouted proudly: “Everyone in Russia has washing machine! If you don’t have washing machine … raise your hand.”
Way back in the crowd a hand shot up. Khrushchev saw it and asked: “What’s your name?” “Ivan,” the man answered. Khrushchev asked: “What’s your problem?” Ivan answered, “I don’t have a washing machine.” Khrushchev replied with “… not to worry, problem WILL be fixed.”
The very next week another gathering of the faithful was held in Red Square and Khrushchev was again singing the praises of socialism/communism. Again, he noted proudly how everyone in Russia had a washing machine. A hand shot up way back in the crowd. Khrushchev, somewhat irritated, asked what was his question, whereupon the man asked: “Where’s Ivan?”
That story popped into my mind as I watched the Maryland parent being denied his constitutional rights — right there in public for everyone to see and hear.
THAT, gentle reader, is the “New Normal” in America. The abused citizen’s question haunted me all night that evening and still stalks my every waking moment. “Is this America?” he asked in desperate frustration as he was involuntarily “escorted” toward the door of the meeting room.
I submit to you that those words should be the battle cry of the new freedom movement in America. “Is THIS America?” Most assuredly it is NOT America. I don’t know what our beloved country has become, but it is not the America our Founders and fore bearers handed off to us.
That father, concerned for his child’s education, issued the admonition “You’re sitting here like cattle” to the other parents sitting quietly allowing the violation of his, heck — THEIR, constitutional rights to go unchallenged — right in front of them.
It hasn’t been that long ago in America when a brawl would have ensured. Red-blooded Americans would not have allowed that man to be treated as if he were a citizen in a communist totalitarian country, a banana republic, or some third world socialist dung heap ruled over by a narcissistic tin pot dictator.
But that was THEN — you know, back when America truly WAS the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today America is neither.
The fearless American government is assaulting America’s freedom and liberty in ways that the old leaders of the USSR, of Communist China, and, yes, even the old Third Reich of Adolf Hitler did not have the temerity to try on their own citizens and slaves.
Uncle Sam has gone from “uncle” to “big brother.” America is now a “police state.” No. We are not BECOMING a police state. We ARE a police state.
The US Constitution is nothing more than a ceremonial artifact locked away in a display case. It is ignored. The Bill of Rights has been so eroded that many of them no longer have any power, at all!
The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave … don’t make me laugh! (or cry, actually.)
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” George Washington, the very first President of the United States (under the constitution) said that, and that was at the very beginning of our existence as a country. But like so much else about the “whys” and “wherefores” of the founding of this nation, it, too, has been either forgotten or — even worse — forsaken.
As of the day of this writing over 2/3rds of the country believes the US is on the wrong course. A Bloomberg National Poll reports that “Americans also are pessimistic about the course of the country, with 68 percent saying it’s headed in the wrong direction, the most in two years, according to the poll of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 20-23.” SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-25/americans-turn-on-washington-68-say-wrong-track-in-poll.html
Unfortunately, I can’t say that we are going to gather ourselves, clean the house in Washington, and set this country back on course. Because, you see, I am convinced we are too deeply divided now to ever be whole again.
Maybe it is time to consider this: When something is so broken it cannot be repaired, often one is compelled to discard it and replace it with a new one. If America has not yet reached that point, then she is certainly approaching it at a furious pace.
Where is Ivan, indeed? When one reflects that Ivan can disappear in America these days, just as he could in the old USSR, the story becomes far less funnier.
Many decades ago Elmer Davis, former CBS journalist, reminded us: “This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
The fact that America is no longer free indicates our parallel lack of bravery, as well.
© J. D. Longstreet
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