Note: This is a rewrite in light of glimmer of hope seen by some after the recent elections.
So I ask you ... How does it feel to be living in a "post-Constitution" America? It looks as if that's what we've come to if things don't change - and quickly - in Washington D.C. I, for one, am hoping the recent elections have at least given us even a slight chance to get things turned around. I also realize it took us a long time to get to this point, and our troubles won't be solved with short term fixes.
We have mandates ... Policy Czars ... Marionettes ... Supreme Court Justices who seem to be more interested in making a mark on history than they are in making judgments based on the constitution itself ... And the current main-stream media seems to enjoy demonizing victims and making celebrities out of criminals.
What a mess!
I think we need to take a good long look at what is happening right here in America, right now, in our own lifetime because -- and I don't want to sound like a doomsday prophet - we may well be witnessing the death of the Republic as we've known it. And that Republic appears to be getting replaced by some sort of ... I don't even know what to call it ... maybe a European-style welfare state where everyone is on the public dole and folks no longer see the need to succeed; where we all sit back and let the state take care of us and our children; where we have more people producing children and fewer people parenting them.
Now it appears we are living in a nation where the government is willing to go to war to eliminate what they call "mountain pride" - a.k.a. that same self-reliance that expanded the nation into the frontier west of the Blue Ridge and eventually settled most of what is now Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas. They say this "mountain pride" keeps folks from participating in programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - the food stamps program - adding that government employees should confront (and convert) people who have "beliefs" and subscribe to "myths" that make them reluctant to accept charity. Reportedly, they even have a "tool kit" that includes a section that tells how important it is to reach out to those who suffer from "mountain pride."
So I'm guessing that if you have the gumption to get out and get a job or two and still end up under the so-called national poverty line, the government will be sending workers to your doorstep in an attempt to convince you that your self-esteem, integrity, self-reliance, independence, and solid work ethic (known collectively as your "mountain pride") are nothing more than myths and outdated beliefs.
Now, let me state here and now that I do not begrudge giving food, or food stamps, or what used to be called commodities, to those who are hungry. In fact, I see helping those in need as a Christian duty and not necessarily something that should fall to the government (except in extreme cases).
But for the federal government to send out armies of workers and spend untold millions of dollars on programs and advertising to recruit people onto the welfare rolls while attacking the same pioneer spirit that built the nation (a.k.a. "mountain pride") pushes the envelope just a little too far and, to be truthful, makes me cringe.
When we look around and ask the question ... "Why isn't that person looking fro a job?" or "Why aren't there more 'works' programs to help counter so many 'welfare' programs?" ... just remember that our government has said, in essence, that it is better to be taken care of than to take care of yourself. I think it has to do with control, but that's just a guess.
Just one final note ... then I'll get off my soap box ... I promise!
In 1993 I had the privilege of traveling to Russia and to the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine on a mission trip. This was right after the fall of the Soviet Union and many people were saying how wonderful this new freedom would be for the people there.
One afternoon, while waiting for a train in the main station in Moscow, we struck up a conversation with some locals. I remember one woman in particular appeared to be incredibly shaken by the mere thought of not having the government exercise control over her life.
She cried as she said, "It's like losing both of your parents in the same terrible accident ... There is no one to take care of us ... Who is going to take care of us now?"
I pray our "mountain pride" will deliver us from ever having to ask that question.