As I was reading last week, I came across the quote below. This Sunday it was used in the sermon so I guess that hammered it into my brain or something because I keep thinking about it. I couldn’t verify the source so I can’t be absolutely sure this is a legitimate historical analysis BUT our esteemed news services have quoted it themselves so it must be true right?!
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith;
- From spiritual faith to great courage;
- From courage to liberty;
- From liberty to abundance;
- From abundance to complacency;
- From complacency to apathy;
- From apathy to dependence;
- From dependence back into bondage. (quote attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler)
According to this, as a country we have passed our expiration date. I am no doom and gloom, the sky is falling alarmist but some days it seems we’re on the backside side of the crest above. I’d guess we fluxuate somewhere between ‘from abundance to complacency’ to ‘apathy to dependence’.
My Mom used to work in a local office of a US Congressman. Some of the problems people would call their office about were pretty bizarre. They got the pothole calls, the veterans in need of help getting services and the occasional missing dead body call. Yes, really . . . dead bodies & body parts . . . multiple stories. . . don’t ask.
For many of the stories, I was just astonished that it would occur to someone to call the federal government to fix that problem. I asked one of the constituent services people what was their response to the crazy questions (assuming there wasn’t an actual crazy person asking it). Her favorite response was “I’m sorry, there’s just no government solution for your problem.”
Now, why can’t some of the actual politicians MAN UP and say that to people? Let’s practice . . .
“We can’t manage to keep our airline in business.”
Appropriate responses might be:
I guess that means I won’t have a direct flight from Reagan National on my next trip home to patronize my rural constituents.
Sorry. I guess it sucks to be you right now.
I wish we could help BUT there’s not a government solution for your problem!
Can you think of other problems that deserve this response?
Unfortunately, we crucify people who speak the truth – sorry former Senator Gramm. I think he’s right – we do whine a lot! I don’t like the price of gas and I do whine about it. But I also realize I still pay $4+ for a cup of coffee and more than $1 for 12 oz of water to drink. It’s inconvenient for most of us not devastating . . . yet. We have to make choices that sting a bit but most of us are still cranking the AC as we exceed the speed limit hurtling toward the new trendy outdoor malls.
Obviously, I’m over simplifying the issues for the benefit of this rant. The reality is a politician’s priority is to get (re)elected. To get elected you have to make people happy. You can make people happy by fixing all the little bitty ‘fix my pothole’ problems. It’s almost like a doctor hoping we won’t notice we are hemorrhaging if they distract us with botox injections! If I’m beautiful does the internal bleeding really matter?
As Americans we have extremely high expectations for the lives we want to live. I think we have the potential to achieve many of them. But when things fall short of our expectations, is it always someone else’s responsibility to help me find the easy way to the good life?
Is that what the American dream has come to? I thought it was the opportunity to shed your own blood, sweat and tears working hard to leave your family more than you had when you were born. And when you fall on your butt, you get up and start working hard again. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. It ain’t sexy but it’s more than most people in the world can hope for. Maybe the ability to struggle is a critical component to maintaining courage and appreciating liberty?
Thankfully, I believe that God is bigger than the border issue and He’s even bigger than our borders. “He’s got the whole world in His hands” makes for a cute little song. I also believe it’s based on truth. He was there at the beginning of all time not just America’s time and He knows how it all plays out.
I just hate the idea that we may be squandering a pretty amazing gift on our watch. I can’t help but wonder what one person can do to make a difference. . .
Where do you think we are as a country? Is it an inevitable outcome that we (or not too future generations) will find ourselves back in bondage?