The America I Remember Still Exists
Frequently, I feel as if I had been born as the Wisconsin Glacier retreated from New England. In reality, of course, it was not quite that long ago. At the time of my birth in America, World War II had ended, the Korean Conflict had not yet begun, television sets were the size of wardrobe cabinets with small, round, black and white screens, and women’s restrooms were used by women.
In my hometown, really a home village, there was no church, the last Protestant church had closed and moved. My memories of the village are, for the most part, the memories of a youngster and may not be encumbered with any resemblance to reality. My village did have a couple of bars, a package store, a yarn store, a couple of gas stations and a post office. The people worked at a textile mill, and most of the kids went to a public school just at the top of the hill, a very few of us went to a parochial school two towns away.
What the village had going for it was manners, courtesy, civility, and concern for others. While there was a distinction between workers and bosses at the textile mills, these differences were not pervasive across the entire life of the village. The bosses were, for the most part, WASPs and the workers, again for the most part and only based on the perception of a child, were blue collar first or second generation immigrants primarily from French-speaking Canada.
The adults were concerned with the kids, their manners, education, and futures. The kids were concerned about making it through school and then into life, wives, jobs, etc.
Over the course of the three-quarters of a century that I have lived thus far, I have resided in small towns, large towns, small cities and large cities in America. The larger cities and towns in which I have lived, at least over the most recent 3 decades, have all, or so it seems, been concerned with being seen as being politically correct, and willing to usurp the mores of the majority just to placate the tiniest of minority populations.
Edmund Burke, an Irish statesman, author, orator, and philosopher, once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good man should do nothing.”This has, in my lifetime, become quite evident in a variety of circumstances. For example, one person may have said that people should be able to marry whomever they wished, then two people repeated it, this became four, then eight, then a short time later, marriage has been redefined. Next step, marriage between 7 men, 4 women, 2 goats, 3 horses and a pig becomes the norm?
A couple of people mention it, then a few, then a large number and prayer is gone from schools.
One or two people advocate for it, then a few, then a bunch, then the Supreme Court allows for the murder of the citizens of the United States. Really? Too harsh? How many pre-born people have been killed in the years since 1973?
When Will it End?
It is not so much the question of when it will end, but rather how it will end.
No, I am not advocating the destruction of cell phones, nor making any TV set larger than 24″ illegal. I am not in favor of returning the national defense to forming all of the wagons into a circle. I am, however, firmly in favor of one simple, effective, prudent and powerful thing -prayer.
Prayer at church, prayer in the home and prayer in the public square. Simple things, holding hands and saying grace before meals, whether at home, a burger joint, or a five-star restaurant is a powerful testimony to our faith. Chatting with a store clerk and when he/she has shared a serious event/illness saying, “I will keep you in my prayers” can make a profound difference.
These changes can be made just as easily in New York City as they can in Dime Box, Texas, or Sneedville, TN. But, the reader may be concerned that saying “Have a blessed day” as a goodbye to a clerk in NYC may be seen as distressing, upsetting, and a violation of the social mores of the area. To which the response of “Who cares?” would seem appropriate.
The Bible Belt’s Buckle
My wife and I now live in East TN, which is, in essence, the buckle of the bible belt in America. We live in a small city of approximately 29,000 people which has the feel of a small town. When we go to a chain store, or even if the store is the only link in the not yet formed chain, it is not uncommon for the clerk to wish us blessings when we leave.
When we work with local charities, it is refreshing to hear the friends ( yes, they are called “clients”, however, I prefer to think of them as “Friends” ) comment on God’s goodness in their time of need.
When leaving the barber shop, yes, the barber shop, not a stylist, it is unusual if the “Hurry back” is not accompanied by “and God bless.”
Why the difference between East TN and, for example, a San Francisco or an Austin, TX? Well, as we have discussed, they may be much more likely to be “PC” and concerned with the rights of the few while East TN, although concerned that the minority few must be heard and treated with respect and courtesy, are apparently more concerned about their relationship to The Father, the Son, and the Spirit first, and then others.
Go to almost any restaurant in our town and you will find individuals, couples, families, and groups unapologetically praying before meals. Go to any store and the clerk will wish you a blessed day as you leave. These people are not concerned about being “PC” they are concerned about and for people, they are not afraid of their religion, and they are not embarrassed by God.
The America I Remember Can Still Exist
How to reconcile the town of my youth, the “PC” age, and the town in which I live? Easy, do it in four simple steps:
- ) Pray – in private, in public, at home, at the Mall, just pray that He may help us return to sanity,
- ) Allow our needs to be heard as we listen and respond to the needs or desires of others. That is, try to find a way to listen to the concerns of those who want to allow the “marriage” of 7 men, 4 women, 2 goats, 3 horses and a pig while trying to find a way not to allow our views to be trampled,
- ) Participate in appropriate manners to help the “Silent Majority” of Richard Nixon to be heard, and
- ) Pray that America, as a Nation, we may turn ever so slightly back to Him. (2 Chron 7:14)