Of all the words spoken at the weekend rallies in Washington, spoken by the President Tuesday night, and all of this week's editorial comments, none are more fitting than those of our guest columnist. Pay careful attention to what he says, and see if you don't agree:
When are we Americans going to start doing something about the troubles and problems we face besides griping, complaining and belly-aching, and looking to the government and the politicians for solutions and all the answers?
It should be perfectly clear to all of us by now that few of our problems and troubles are going to be solved by the federal government, whether it be by the President (whoever it might be,) by the bureaucracy, or by the Congress. Whatever one might think of
, I think he was absolutely right -- for once -- in a speech regarding some of the nation's problems when he said, "The strength we need will not come from the White House, but from every house in America!"
So, you want to know my prescription for healing what ails America?
Okay! I'm convinced that nothing would do our nation more good right now than a big dose of simple "Patriotism" on the part of each and every American! Yes, you heard right! "Patriotism!"
Now, by patriotism, I'm not talking about just a lot of flag-waving, political rhetoric about freedom, fireworks displays, playing the "Star Spangled Banner," singing "God Bless America," and such. Nothing is wrong with all this, but it can be merely "surface patriotism."
I'm referring to real, true patriotism in its very broadest sense. My definition for true patriotism would be something like this: "A responsible, unselfish exercise of our freedom, with sacrifice if necessary, based on devotion to country!"
What would be the result of such and unselfish, patriotic exercise of freedom by all Americans?
The most obvious result, I think, would be a return to unity in our nation. That is, all of us would be working together for a common purpose, and doing everything possible for the good of the country as a whole.
To me, that gets to the heart of the main cause of many of our nation's problems today. Instead of being united and working together, we have become a fragmented nation of countless self-interest groups, with each group selfishly seeking or demanding policies and actions that would benefit and give favorable advantage to their particular little segment, with little or no concern about how others or the nation as a whole might be adversely affected.
That's not unity, it's not an unselfish exercise of freedom, and it's not patriotism And, it threatens our country!
Taking our theory of true patriotism, and unity further, think of how it could favorable affect some problem areas.
It could put the brakes to the widespread greedy, grasping rip-offs and exorbitant profit-making by business and industry, and the ridiculously high fees charged by the get-rich-quick professional people. At the same time, the constant demands of labor for higher and higher wages and ever-increasing demands for fringe benefits could end. Think of how all this could favorable affect the inflation problem.
Then, consider America's troubled auto industry, with plants closed and workers unemployed, while Americans buy foreign-made cars by the boat-load. Wouldn't a true spirit of patriotism mean a striving for greater efficiency by management, an equal amount of interest by labor in improving production in quality and quantity as it shows in demands for higher pay and more fringe benefits, and some soul-searching by Americans in making decisions about whether to buy foreign made cars or those made by their fellow Americans?
And wouldn't this kind of patriotism cause all of us to do all we could to reduce or even end our dependence on foreign oil, a dependence that is draining America financially, is threatening to destroy our economy, and could easily lead us into war?
Yes, I'm convinced that a true spirit of patriotism would cure many of our ills. No, I'm not naive enough to believe it will happen! But we can dream, can't we?
Now, here's a surprise for you. The person mentioned in the second paragraph as
is Jimmy Carter. The author of the piece was an anonymous contributing writer to the Soperton News (now deceased). He wrote the essay under the column name of "Slow Pokin". It was published September 3, 1980, thirty years ago. Still up to date, huh?
William A. Ricks
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