In my lifetime the thinking of the average citizen of the United States has changed dramatically. When I was a child, this was “the greatest nation on earth.” Everyone was absolutely certain that the USA was the best.
Compared to other nations, we expected to have higher scores when children were tested, have larger percentages of college graduates, maintain a higher standard of living for all and house the great majority of our citizens in their own homes. We expected to be taller, smarter, stronger and better fed than the citizens of other nations. On an individual level, we expected to have a good job and keep it and use the money to buy our houses and cars, pay for our food and school lunches. The great part was, in most cases, one full-time worker could provide a family with stability and enough wherewithal to acquire a nice standard of living.
Of course, you can see a great difference between that mindset and the real circumstances of fifty years ago and today’s realities and attitudes. We no longer hear a lot of drum beating about our great country. We worry about the ever-growing national debt. We know that our children are outscored on standardized tests by students of other nations. Today’s college graduates often end up with so much student debt that it prevents them from profiting from their higher education for many, many years.
Yes, our standard of living is still pretty good; but the dream of most American’s to own their own home blew up in our faces a few years ago, primarily because everyone wanted more than they could afford to own and the banks obliged them in allowing them to overreach their budgets.
Fifty years ago we thought that when we helped other countries, we had a right to expect that we would also influence the life style of their citizens for the better and had the right to attempt to bring their citizens to Christianity and their governments to democracy. We now help and fight wars on behalf of other countries that have little respect for our way of life.
Healthy American children used to run and play. The “Yoo-hoos” of our mothers could be heard across the country as dusk approached on spring evenings. Now our youngsters play with gizmos and battle weight problems before they reach junior high. Increasingly, our citizens are living on food stamps. Large numbers of children receive subsidized meals at school, and with all the great things available to buy having become “necessities” rather than luxuries, one salary just won’t cut it anymore. Add to this, the diminishing commitment to marriage and you end up with a generation of children without fathers or with an assortment of fathers, stepfathers, mothers and step-mothers—family situations that often lead to rancor among the assortment of parents and to instability in the child’s life.
Freedom of religion used to mean we didn’t have to fight about it. Now it means everyone is free to fight against it. Freedom of religion has become freedom FROM religion.
In my opinion, the one thing that can lead this nation back to greatness is a rededication of our citizens to personal responsibility. The best thing the government can do for us is let us live like adults rather than children who need to be cared for and told what to do.
Anonymous (Over 65)
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