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Tolerance becoming thing of the past
This month’s “Food for Thought” will focus on America rather than on the technical aspects of the probate offices.
As I watch what is going on in our country, I am flabbergasted. It appears so many citizens have seemingly abandoned much of what used to be the core values and principles that made a strong, cohesive and vibrant America. I hear people discuss willingly forfeiting the rights our founding fathers thought to be so dear.
I see people clamoring to remove or destroy history, defame our forefathers and diminish great deeds/feats performed by some who preceded us. We need to remember that not one of us is perfect. History happened; that is why it is our past – good, bad, or indifferent. We all have things in our past that we would do differently if given the chance. However, those things/experiences are what make our character. We learn, we grow, we change, we mature. Think about the old saying credited to philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We need to be careful about erasing or destroying our history; instead we need to learn from that history and grow from that knowledge.
I meet people who never want to hear differing opinions from theirs. We used to value differing opinions. That is how we learned and progressed. However, it now seems we can’t “agree to disagree;” instead we see the attitude, “if you don’t agree with me, you are an idiot; I need to diminish you as a person, destroy you, and/or your livelihood.” Tolerance is becoming a thing of the past. People are destroying friendships simply because of intolerance, not because of substantial and differing values or principles.
America is changing, and that is nothing new. However, I am afraid that many of the changes we see are not for the best. We seem to be going backward in many areas instead of going forward as one nation.
Many polls show that fewer and fewer people believe in our Constitution, have any faith in OUR federal government, belong to religious organizations, have strong family ties, have a strong desire to excel without government assistance, etc.
In his inaugural address John F. Kennedy said, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” I wonder what he would say today. A Gallup poll shows an 11% increase over the recent 10 years (2010-2020) in the number of people who say they want a more active federal government in our daily lives. I find this amazing, especially since the number of people who say they “trust the government” is at an all-time low (20% according to a Pew Research Center Study). People want more control exerted in their lives from a government that 80 percent of the population clearly does not trust. Is this oxymoronic or just moronic?
Another recent Gallup poll shows that only 47% of Americans belong to a church, mosque, or synagogue. For 60 years (1940 – 2000), the number of Americans who belonged to a religious organization averaged 71.5% (76% high, 68% low). After 2000, a steady decline began. In 20 short years, that number has dropped a significant 23%. I find this interesting, especially in a country that has as one of its founding principles the right to freedom of religion. I encourage you to do an internet search on this poll and read the possible reasons behind this significant decrease.
Another poll. Gallup again. Only 45% of Americans say they are extremely proud to be an American. This is down 10 points since 2001.
We see elected leaders in Washington, D.C., say things like, “America is not exceptional” or “There is nothing special about the U.S.” I find this appalling! On the rare occasion if asked why they make such comments, their reasoning is usually that they were held back from achieving their full potential or a really enlightening, “I don’t see anything exceptional that America has done.” This is coming from a person who has ascended to elected national leadership of the greatest country in the world. Does it make you wonder what the person could have become had their reins been unleashed? Maybe their goal is a god, who knows. What is their meter for success?
Many of these naysayers of America would have never ascended to equivalent positions in any other country. It is because of America they succeeded. They owe America, whether they like it or not.
If “our” America didn’t exist, what would the world be like? I think of the old Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Bailey had given up his dreams to serve his friends and neighbors in his community. What would that community have been like without George Baily?
I think that is sort of how the world would be without the America I know. How many people around the world would have worse lives without American generosity? How many more people would go without any medical care at all? If America had not existed, what would have been the outcome of World War I or World War II?
Think about it. Do we want to move forward with knowledge or digress because of ignorance? Do we want to erase history or learn from it? Do we want to become just another mediocre country in the world today? Do we want to become more dependent on a bureaucratic government for our livelihood, values and principles? Remember, the government can’t give anything it hasn’t taken. To give money, it must take it from someone. To give freedom, it must first limit freedom.
Until next month, take care, and God bless!