Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Old America-just exactly what is it?

I have heard and seen a lot over the last couple of years about how America is changing for the worse, how people miss the "Old America" and want her back, and this lead me to think-just what exactly is the "Old America"?

Is the Old America the isolationist, "stay out of things come hell or high water" America? Is it the racist, bigoted, sexist America? I am sure if I asked a sampling of 100 people, I would get 100 different answers, because the truth is, what constitutes the "Old America" depends on the one answering.

We ALL have our own idea of what America should be. We ALL have our own interpretation of what America was. And we ALL have our own ideas about what America is becoming. So which ones are right? Which ones are wrong? I don't know.

I have my own ideas and interpretations and they are formed by my past, by my upbringing, and they are also changing daily based on my growth and maturation (no comment from the peanut gallery). Some of it is very conservative and some of it (more often these days) is more liberal. I tend to consider myself more Libertarian than Liberal or Conservative. I also tend to me more fiscally conservative and more socially liberal and this gets me into all kinds or disagreement and trouble with friends and family. And all that factors into and colors what I call the Old America and how I see America turning into.

The reality is... the "Old America" is a myth. It was never as great or as bad as we remember it. What we are really saying when we either speak highly or lowly about it, is giving our idea of what we think America should be.

But I have to remind myself that I alone am not America, I am part of it but I am not all of it and just my ideas and interpretations are just that.. a part of it, I don't have the right to decide and determine those things for others. I have the right to speak my mind but not to make someone else follow them. The Conservatives amongst us who decry what America is becoming (take your pick.. morally corrupt, socialist, communist, etc..) and that the Old America was better and more righteous also don't have the right to force that on those who disagree. The Liberals amongst us who decry what America used to be in the past and how we need to do this or that to move into the 21st Century and become more Global don't get to force that on those who disagree with them. We must all learn to communicate and more importantly cooperate to form the America of the future. One where neither side gets it's complete way, one where neither side is necessarily completely happy, and one where both sides have to give up some things they want.

The truth is that America is constantly growing and evolving (oops, I said the "E" word,  hope the Christian Taliban don't come after Our population is changing and evolving and this naturally is going to lead to change and progress and adaptation. This means it will NEVER be the Old America however you define it, it will always be the New America. It won't always be pretty, it will be full of mistakes and missteps. And we will learn and grow. And yes, some of what we have enjoyed or done in the past will go away, some of it good and some of it bad.

I don't know if it will grow worse or better, I don't know if it will be more "free" or more "restricted". I don't know if it will be more capitalist or more socialist. I do know that it will be whatever we make of it. And we can either continue to act like Junior High and High schoolers who insult and fight and "take our balls and pout" when we don't get our way, OR we can be adults who sit down and listen to each other and compromise to try and make the best America we can.

I don't know about the rest of you reading this, but however it turns out I would prefer it be directed and produced by adults than by children.

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