Is America Dying
By: Bill Schoettler
January 21, 2023
What makes a country? Borders, language, customs. Okay, this is perhaps an oversimplification…but nonetheless accurate. When we started with our 13 colonies we had some pretty good borders between each colony and, of course, around the land which we controlled and claimed. As the country grew and expanded, new states, each with its own border, were added and the nation we were creating also defined its ever-growing borders. Ultimately we took in two states whose borders didn’t connect to the other 48 but were still defined and included in our nation.
Along the way, we spoke English. There were German and French and Italian immigrants but they all learned English. As more and more people came to the USA they also learned English. Some of the immigrants settled in areas where they felt familiar, with friends and families, and many times these enclaves of similar heritage continued their familiar customs. But they also adopted our nation’s customs, holidays, and, of course, the English Language.
Our customs honored many concepts, the “indigenous people”, sometimes called “Native Americans”, the founding groups who initiated, promulgated, and established the very foundation upon which we built our brand of civilization, the people we honored for their contributions to this country and, not to be ignored the parade of heroes who were honored in their time with statues, sometimes holidays and always reverence and thanks.
We were never directly challenged in our history until our country was viciously attacked by the Japanese when they bombed Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. The day that will live in infamy. And this attack drew together the entire nation which responded with millions of men and women, an outpouring of resources, and a national determination to not just overcome the virulent disease that inspired that attack but to eradicate it from the face of the planet. We, along with our allies, were successful.
In 1945 the Nation drew a deep breath, focused its energies on the economic principles of capitalism, and became the most economically powerful and envied country in the world. Our goods and services were exported around the globe as our technology led the world in virtually all fields of science and agriculture and industry. “Made in America” was a symbol eagerly sought around the planet.
Right after WWII ended we were confronted with an international conspiracy fostered by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, Russia, whose principles of communism contradicted everything our country stood for in terms of representative democracy, capitalism, and the various freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. Thus began what was called the “Cold War”, a conflict fought at the ballot box, in the United Nations, through surrogate countries around the world, and in our own universities and the entertainment industry. The casualties were measured not just in lives lost but in dollars spent in anticipation of a “hot war”, in competing with Russia in the development of not just weapons of war but virtually every technology that might contribute to weapons of war. And, over the roughly 45 years from the end of WWII to approximately 1990, we won that war also.
Our victory wasn’t celebrated with parades, no statues displaying heroes, there is no national holiday celebrating the end of the Cold War, there are only memories (quickly fading) and the philosophical remnants which continue to gnaw away.
In 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea and the USA, honoring its perceived moral obligation, entered another war, this time not to physically defend the USA but to defend the principles of democracy we had been fostering in South Korea. Also, it was known and clearly demonstrated that North Korea was sponsored and aided by both Communist China and Communist Russia. This “war”, termed a “police action” succeeded in (mostly) restoring the borders of South Korea and ended 3 years after it began.
Beginning in the early 1960s, in an area with then recently described borders, a revolution (war, if you wish) broke out in an area we know as Viet Nam. In actuality, the geographic area had been a colony of France before WWII, and even after that war, the French continued to exert control over the area. In 1954 the French were essentially ejected from the area and Vietnam was “divided” between North (under the auspices of China and Russia) and South —philosophically supported by our country. The North began sending agents provocateurs as well as Communist-inspired and supplied militia and began eating away at the government of South Vietnam. The United States responded by supplying material, then material and “advisors” and training and military equipment to support the government of South Vietnam. In 1964 a North Korean patrol boat actually fired on a United States destroyer that was patrolling in international waters. The United States responded with ten years of massive military action which ended inconclusively. We did not “win” that war but today the country of Vietnam is a tourist destination. The conflict ultimately ended in 1975.
Other than minor skirmishes and the occasional eruption of shooting and killing around the world, the USA was relatively quiet, focusing on its own issues and, of course continuing to pursue the “Cold War”.
1990, when Russia essentially abandoned its Union of Soviet Socialists and many countries previously under the “control”of Russia became “independent”, that is, they could now control their own destinies as opposed to those destinies being dictated by Russia, from roughly 1990 to 2001 our country was “at peace”. Sort of.
But during the Cold War years, with the resulting peace and prosperity we developed and enjoyed, with the privation and sacrifices made during the Big War fading like the bad memory it was, new generations raised without blackout curtains and air-raid drills and saving papers and having gasoline rationed were being born and raised and taught by professors and “experts” who never heard a gun fired or a bomb bursting except perhaps on the Fourth of July.
With no real enemies to face, our country began fragmenting into factions that considered such things as a muddled view of history, misconceptions about our economic system (i.e., capitalism), better gasoline mileage, banning cigarettes, and unraveling the complexities of drugs and the mysteries of modern medicine. Smoke-free areas were identified, racial quotas were discussed (and pretty much banned by SCOTUS), accommodations were made for multiple languages to be on ballots and the sensibilities of individuals became something about which to be concerned [as opposed to “suck it up” and “don’t be a cry-baby” and “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”].
Along came 9/11, not the emergency number 911 but the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City which killed roughly 3000 people and set the entire nation back on its heels. The perpetrators were not from a single country (though this may be argued to the contrary) but what appeared to be a religious philosophy sponsored by some governments. In the absence of a defined and easily identifiable enemy, it was challenging to mount a retaliatory response. Our President declared a “war on terror” and the country began investigating and examining the Middle East countries from which came the culprits who flew the planes that attacked us.
Iran and Iraq became known to US citizens as birthing grounds for radical jihadists, individuals, groups, and even populations which were raised with the teaching that the United States was the Great Satan, that our country was out to destroy not only their way of life but the very existence of their countries. The only answer, so generations of youngsters in those countries were told, is to kill all US citizens/residents/representatives. Plus, as a bonus, these people were told that their religion called for them to spread the philosophy and teachings of Islam around the world and convert all unbelievers (or kill those who refused to convert). There is a dispute over this interpretation of the religious tenants of Islam but unfortunately, there are too many followers who accept such interpretations.
Now, for the first time in many years, the United States had an enemy. The trouble with this enemy was that he/it/they had no easily identifiable army, no insignia worn by their fighters, and they followed no standard military approach. Fighting this enemy required soldiers on the ground, technological apparatus, specialized armaments, and specially trained soldiers of our own. But this enemy didn’t operate in the traditional way of previous combatants. Daily news broadcasts did not show large maps with huge black arrows of US troops attacking enemy strongpoints. Instead, there were short articles showing village scenes where heavily-armed Americans were confronted by apparently unarmed villagers clad not in uniforms but local clothes that were indistinguishable one from the other, man from woman and combatant from non-combatant. New terms like I.E.D.(Improvised Explosive Device) appeared along with stories of atrocities where the enemy would actually behead captured American soldiers. The US retaliated with drones, electronic surveillance, and night-vision equipment. Pitched battles were rare but casualties were the same as in previous wars. People were killed, maimed, and psychologically damaged. And, the American people were never really asked to “get behind” a war effort.
Movies were made showing elements of this fighting, books were written and videos of flag-covered coffins being returned to the United States.
But this fighting was on foreign soil, for the most part. There was, however, a continuing attack upon the very foundation of our country. An attack against the principles of democracy as we knew it. An attack against our children, our teenagers, and college enrollees who were being taught that our history was unimportant and should be changed anyway.
We learned that there were many new genders, men could have babies and compete with women in sports. The climate was changing because we continued to burn fossil fuels and turning to alternate sources of electricity was the only way to save the planet from extinction.
Groups of individuals who felt particularly victimized by what was called “white supremacy” cried out for “reparations” and demanded preferential treatment. Competition was no longer appropriate and instead preferential treatment for some was the only way to have all people truly equal in the long run. Capitalism was not just old-fashioned it was the root of economic evil that would destroy the country. After all, if God made all people truly equal then all people should have everything the same.
Today we are struggling with these new concepts, ideas, and programs that have been imposed upon us by our government being taught in the schools that supervise the rearing of our children. Athletics have been turned upside down when the public cries for more colored coaches but not for more white players. Standards for admission to prestigious universities are bent to allow entrance to under-prepared and ill-equipped students, and programs are seriously considered to reduce or eliminate licensing requirements that were originally designed to assure the public of genuine expertise and [sort of] guarantee good results when hiring an “educated expert” in fields of medicine, law, or business.
Emotional security and protection are considered more important than physical security when previously promulgated laws designed to protect all members of society are ignored in the interests of foregoing the prosecution of some people because they are “over-represented” in statistical analysis of many crimes. Meanwhile, concepts of representation in other statistics are conveniently ignored.
Millions of people have crossed our southern border in the past two years when physical barriers and border guards were either eliminated or restricted in their functions to permit such crossings.
Drugs, such as fentanyl (which kills hundreds of thousands of US citizens) flow freely across that border. Members of religious groups and national groups that actually harbor not just negative feelings against our country but with the specific intent to cause harm to our citizens continue to enter.
Today our government is being run by a titular President who is not merely cognitively challenged, but is a demonstrated liar. A man without any honorable principles who has been accused of conduct which arguably justifies not only impeachment but expulsion from office if not outright penal servitude. His cabinet appointments are the laughingstock of the world. Their conduct is so outrageous that even the heretofore supporting media is beginning to question their ineptitude.
Does this sound depressing? Do you read this and despair that our country will ever survive?
I also have faith that there are on the horizon some glimmers of light in the otherwise dark, dark tunnel through which we are being led. It took courage and fortitude for this nation of ours to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We endured and overcame to get where we are today.
I pray to God, the very Being whose existence is not only doubted but often denied by those who now lead us. I pray that we may survive and that the great leaders whose past lives have led us through trials and tribulations will yet inspire new leaders who can lift up the spirit of America and Make America Great Again.