When and Where Have We Gone Wrong?
Lord Cornwallis was defeated at Yorktown. The British never threatened to renew hostilities and the War of Revolution was finally ended with the treaty of Paris in 1783. Now the American Colonies became the United States of America. All that was needed was a document of Governance. Nevertheless the average American was deliriously happy. They had begun as several small British Colonies believing they were free to worship God as they chose rather than under the dictates of an authoritarian monarch and an oppressive parliament.
Such an unbelievable sensation to breath the air of their own country and pray to the one God in whom they had placed their faith and trust as far back as the late 16th Century. It had been a long and arduous journey to their own land of wide open spaces and fruited plains. Now that we have it, what do we do to manage it and make it safe and secure for our children?
The colonies had survived under several governing documents beginning with the Mayflower Compact of 1620, drafted, agreed to and signed aboard the Mayflower in November, 1620. The several colonies had been governed under various documents, many based upon the Magna Carta. There was the Virginia Declaration of Rights which called for independence from Britain.
The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document of the United States. The Federalist Papers and Anti Federalist Papers gave guidance and ideas for the construction of the United States Constitution which was adopted on September 17, 1787.
As great as it was, the Constitution was lacking. The missing parts came into being and were added to the Constitution beginning with the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments, ratified on December 15, 1791. The First Amendment guaranteed that for which the Pilgrims had risked so much, Freedom to Worship as they chose.
Somewhere in the intervening 220 plus years America has lost its zeal for or love of God. We are all the worse for that. Not only have we apparently abandoned God but his commandments and teachings as well. That is the nidus of this devastating infection.
This deviation from God's will did not occur overnight; it has been many years and many sins for us to have strayed so far off the path set for us by our Pilgrim Forebears. We became far too tolerant under the guise of "Mind your own Business!" to " I am exercising my God given right."
And finally there is that malignant curse known as Political Correctness. Each of these three excuses is more devastating than shouting, "Fire!" in a crowded theater.
Each of us bears some of the responsibility for failing to speak out when we witnessed bad acts. I am old enough to remember when spitting on a sidewalk was a punishable offense. Those children who accompany their parents to Church understand good manners and polite behavior; they tend to adhere to these patterns as they become older. Children who are taught to use expressions such as, "Yes Ma'am, No ma'am, Yes, sir and No, sir" make better adults and therefore better citizens than do those who are not taught the social amenities.
Parents who defend their child or children's bad behavior are more apt to raise a juvenile delinquent than is a stricter parent. All activity whether play, school or work has acceptable norms. Parenting and governing are comparable activities; America has failed at both. Accepting abnormal behavior as normal or quasi-criminal activity as acceptable leads to less acceptable results.
Jumping to conclusions is totally unacceptable and fools such as Al Sharpton and Barack Obama who publicly proclaimed Mr. Zimmerman guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin before all or any evidence was presented set one type of juvenile behavior as did a group of hoodlums, the New Black Panthers. Representative Bobby Rush boorishly and stupidly defied rules of behavior in The House of Representatives to make some kind of unrelated racial point. Then to make matters worse, the former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi approved his behavior. That is sick!
These bad behaviors set us back as a people and a society. That is what has gone badly wrong; we allowed the worst among us to set the tenor of our behavior. Shades of 1961 and Montgomery, AL; we have gone back 50 years in one decade.
Do we turn it around or do we keep on that slide down the hill of civilization?