The softening of America
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 by Ron Cruger
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        It was 1773 and the good citizens of Boston had decided that they were fed up with the insolence emanating from the British Crown. The latest insult to their newly formed American sensibilities was based on the recently levied taxation on their tea. The King and his court in Britain had decided to bypass the selling of their teas from China and India through American middlemen and do it directly –but still containing the heavy taxes established to fill the coffers of Great Britain.
        The furious Americans, still living under the thumb of King George III decided that things had gone far enough. John Hancock, John Adams and Samual Adams and other patriots put their heads together and decided that freedom from tyranny was worth the dangers involved in staging a mammoth protest against the core of the problem – taxation without representation.
        Thus, the idea of the “Boston Tea Party” was formed in the minds of the men who would soon be instrumental in the creation of the larger battle – The Revolutionary War – the fight for American Independence from England.
So, to protest the British taxes on their tea and to send a message to King George III, Hancock organized a disruptive protest to be staged in Boston Harbor. Hancock thought of a way that would get the King’s attention. The message would be “no more taxation without representation!”
        On Thursday, December 16, 1773 a large and angry contingent of Americans boarded the ships containing the highly taxed tea. In a few minutes Boston Harbor would resemble a giant tea cup as three hundred forty two casks of tea would be dumped in the quiet waters of the Harbor. The equal of 90,000 pounds or forty five tons of tea. The value of the dumped tea would near two million dollars. King George III and the East India Tea Company had received a message from those upstart Americans.
        Today, Americans are faced with challenges far wider than those revolutionaries encountered. The world has become far more complex that those simple days when King George III held America’s future in his jewel studded fingers. Our planet today has become a vast interrelated grouping of countries, pulled together by economic and natural forces. This does not mean that we are of one world – one government. We’re not headed for a one world/one government union of nations. Regardless of what those paranoid pundits and purveyors of conspiracy theories proclaim, the troubles of the world are essentially the same as they have always been – freedom and respect for the individual versus despotic dictatorship. The problems Americans faced in 1773 are simpler forms of complaints that roil around our globe today.
        In 1773 Americans wanted freedom from the oppressive hand of England and King George III. Today Americans want freedom from the tyrannical hold that the emirs of the oil countries have on our carburetor throats. And yet, we do little if anything to compare with the bravado of the Boston Tea Party.
        America has grown soft.
        It is time for our leaders to read about the fortitudes of the men who founded this great country of ours. The Adams, the Hancocks, the Washingtons, the Franklins, the Jeffersons. The men of the revolution who carried flags with the imprint of their determination – “Don’t Tread on Me.”
        Today we have leaders in foreign lands feigning friendship with the United States. These men smile and pat us on the back as they plot between themselves to harm us by using their most powerful weapon – oil.
        And our leaders of today permit these affronts to our nation’s honor by doing little or nothing.
        There are things that can be done that will free us from our bondage to these despots. To start with we can warn those that in reality are our enemies, not our friends. Tell them that we are undergoing a massive program to drill for oil so that we can become energy independent from them. Tell them that we will be installing wind machines in our deserts and oceans. Tell them we will lower the freeway speed limit to fifty five miles per hour to save gas.
        Tell them we will be building dozens of atomic energy plants across our nation. But, most importantly we will tell our enemies that our citizens are tired of being bullied around by two-bit sand dune countries.
        I long for the day when Americans are no longer solely interested in the rise or fall of their investment portfolios. I believe Americans want to be proud of their country, but they haven’t felt that pride in a long time. I believe that Americans would like to tell these oil despots that they will no longer remain quiet as these arrogant emirs raise the price of their oil to un-thought of limits.
        Perhaps the invasion of Iraq was concocted based on poor and erroneous information. Perhaps we weren’t prepared for the eventualities of what happened. Perhaps it was the wrong thing to do at the time, but it did give a warning to the world that America’s might is still there. The problem with Iraq is that our leaders excluded the American public from the process. . They forgot to forge a patriotic bond with the American public. World War I and World War II found the majority of the American public solidly behind the American war effort.
        Today Americans hear that our armed forces are weak and unable to fight on another front. Americans are worried about our ability to defeat a punk nation like Iran.
        If Americans felt in 1773 as they do today, Great Britain would still be holding us in their grasp as colonies.
        Americans have grown fat and complacent. Americans wouldn’t dare create a Boston Tea Party today. I doubt if there would be an American Revolution if it were up to us today.
        We grow deeper in debt because the politicians are deathly afraid that if they raise taxes they will lose the next election. Americans call for increased governmental assistance in the same breath that they refuse to have their taxes raised. Governmental fraud and hanky-panky run rampant and yet the American public goes its merry way, driving gas guzzling SUV’s and buying homes with no money down and no funds to pay the mortgage.
        Starting in 2003 mortgage lenders extended trillions of dollars in loans that never should have been made. These loans drove house prices to unsustainable levels. Now millions of borrowers can’t make their payments and home prices are plunging.
        Somewhere down deep in our psyche we Americans know that things can’t continue they way they’re going. We can’t purchase homes with no money down and nothing in the bank. We can’t expect bridges and highways to be maintained and our borders protected from terrorists without raising our taxes. We can’t continue paying over four dollars a gallon (and rising) for gasoline and not expect it to alter our lifestyles.
        It has been conjectured that one of the major reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire was the conversion of the emperor to a more peaceful lifestyle for him and his empire. As the years passed the Roman army stopped its conquering ways. The Roman army dwindled and before too many decades had passed the Roman Empire had lost the respect of its neighbors. As more decades passed, the Roman Empire became a totally peaceful nation. Even its smaller and weaker neighbors stopped fearing its military power. Greed, corruption and lack of pride in the Empire finally brought down the Emperor, the Senate and its government.
        And so, America finds itself in a transition period.
        Without becoming a militant, authoritarian state the United States must have the world’s strongest military. Every nation on the planet must know that the United States military power must never be challenged. Americans must regain the pride that brought it victory in World War I and World War II. Devoted patriotism must run through the veins of our nation. We must regain faith in our elected officials, and, if any are found to be taking advantage of their positions they must be prosecuted until this nation has regained its trust in our leaders, our Congress our Representatives.
        This nation’s slide into cynicism, self doubt, corruption and ennui must end and the curative process should begin with enervating our nation’s pride in our military strength coupled with the wise use of its power. Bold and intelligent leadership will lead our nation back to where patriotism once again rings throughout the land. 

        “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right…and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” - John Adams 1735-1826

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in an insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” - Louis Brandeis 1856-1941