Recently, I’ve felt out of sorts. Kind of gloomy, in a vague, can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-it kind of way. The other day it struck me: kind of like September 11. I’m stuck with that 9/11 feeling.
Remember that day? I sure do. I was at the first MOPS meeting of the year, and had dropped my kids off in the nurseries and sat down at my table. The leader said that “considering the circumstances” we would begin with prayer, and that we might want to make some calls as the banks might be freezing assets. What???? I had no idea what was going on.
In the days that followed, I learned. And I (as well as most Americans, I think) had that uneasy feeling. What had gone down was bad, and yet what might be coming was unknown and maybe even worse! Life had changed in some fundamental way, and the rules as we knew them had ceased to exist.
That feeling is rearing its ugly head again. Throughout my working life, I have scrimped and saved. Frugality is my middle name. My earnings were tucked away into mutual funds to finance my retirement, since I’m in the unenviable spot of being at the tail end of the baby boomers. Social Security will not likely provide any security for me.
In the past six months, my hard-earned money has lost 70% off its value. This is deeply saddening to me, because, while our new president promises to bail out auto makers, bail out banks, bail out those who can’t pay their mortgages, and even bail out the lowly salt marsh harvest mouse, there is no bailout coming for me. No, instead I’ll be taxed on capital gains that my investment “earned” last year before tanking.
It’s not just my failing finances that have me down. It’s the odd feeling that America, specifically Americans, are changing. A recent report I read of a Michigan congressman’s conference call with “regular Americans” was nothing if not disheartening. To a person, each one wanted to know how the government would help him or her out.
Have we really become a nation of “what’s in it for me?” I used to feel that that saying was a Democrat thing, but heck – even John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”. I doubt Kennedy could be elected today with that kind of thinking. And with Obama boasting a 69% approval rating, apparently most Americans are just fine with all the giveaways.
The stock market is down 2,000 points since his Obama’s election, but all we read in the papers is swooning over the Obamas’ “real romance” and lauding the accomplishments of his first 100 days. It’s like the mainstream media is living in a separate world from the rest of us, and it’s disheartening. Where is the acknowledgement that our economy, and seemingly our nation, is falling apart?
I read books about George Washington, John Adams, and other founders. It is sad to read about their aspirations for this great land, a place where people could be free and prosper by their own efforts. Then I see where we are today – sadly, a country where more and more people apparently just want to play the system and get by on the efforts of others. A land where we aren’t proud to be Americans anymore, but sure as heck don’t want to offend anyone of a different heritage (especially Muslim).
James Madison, the father of our Constitution, was horrified when Congress appropriated $15,000 to help French refugees. He said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Poor old Madison must be rolling in his grave about now.
How to wrap this up? I don’t know. I hope things will get better for our country, but with our current leadership we’re in for at least four years of this. And before you remind me, yes – I know God is still in control. However, God has given us each free will, and that has led to many tragedies. I think we’re all entering a very challenging period for our country, and we will all be first-hand witnesses.
The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
~ George Washington