So the United States marks our 238th birthday today. And it’s been a remarkable 238 years. Think about it. A small band of men and women in limited geography grows to be the most powerful economy, the most powerful military and the most powerful influence on earth. And into an industrial nation unprecedented in history.
We’ve expanded and never contracted. We’ve won wars and lost them, but never lost an inch of territory to an invader.
This country was built in the spirit of compromise, a spirit we seem lately to have forgotten.
We take an awful lot for granted. And the farther we wander from our founding, the greater the amount of history we invent.
So, go view the fireworks or sit at home and watch the celebration on television. That’s probably a better view than you’ll find at any venue with a sky show, unless you left two days ago, secured your space and have camping equipment.
And while you’re busy setting up your tent and your Coleman Stove, think about where we are as a country and where we might be in the future.
Let’s remember a few things. The first is that early geography. Thirteen colonies. Two and a half million people, mostly homogenous Europeans.
Two-point-five million. That’s fewer than live in Chicago today when the national population is more than 300-million and diverse as anyplace on earth.
No one alive today can remember the privation and trouble of even a century ago. Yes… there are people who are over one hundred. But there aren’t first hand memories.
Our requirements have changed. Our face has changed. And yet, there are those who would force us back into a mold that barely worked with a Chicago- sized population and geography that fits into our present map three times or more.
There are people who believe that the pioneer spirit that worked to build present day America from near nothing is all we need.
Certainly, we do need a pioneer spirit in some areas. But not ALL areas.
Sure we need aristocrats or captains of industry, but remember that diversity. White aristocrats, have to accept they’re not only not alone anymore but edging from dominance.
And we built a middle class with workers of all description, most of them unionized but only because those aristocrats were so… aristocratic.
Unions form when conditions are so bad that even those pioneer spirited realize they have power only in organizing and mutual work toward mutual goals.
Some want to take us back to a time when we were less than at any time since.
Regulars in this space have heard this before. But it’s worth repeating:
We didn’t get to be the way we are by being the way we are.
A good birthday to us all.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014