"We should impart our courage, and not our despair ... and take
care that this does not spread by contagion."
Henry David Thoreau
tried to live by Thoreau's words. But toward the end of July 2009, I
had almost given in to despair about the future of America, never
debt, too much entitlement, too little common sense and common
ethics. I was getting crabby about it, too.
I was at
a local farmers market, waiting patiently in line with my visiting
son and twin grandchildren, when a woman pushed in front of us
because she was "just getting a $3 breakfast burrito."
might have seemed only slightly unreasonably rude if she hadn't been
waving a $20 bill, which required that the lone vendor make change.
I told her firmly to get in line. I save quarters and
low-denomination bills all week, just to be considerate, and I
wasn't going to allow this "special" person, who thought her time
was more valuable than mine, to cut ahead of me and the others who
joked about not knowing me, but the 8-year-olds were supportive;
kids usually dislike line crashers, too. I guess we had a "teachable
moment," as the president would say: Their parents may want to teach
them peaceful coexistence. I want to teach them to stand up to "the
entitled" and stand up for themselves.
it has recently occurred to me that these might not be useful skills
in the new Obama Order. Maybe we should get used to standing in line
for, say, health care, while entitled politicians push ahead with
superior plans for themselves and their friends.
that week, I had watched the president's news conference on his
health care plan, about which he seemed to know little, appearing
almost glad to have the subject changed to the alleged racist
incident in Cambridge.
paid much attention to the incident until that moment, since I don't
read news articles that have the word "race" in the headline; I'm
bored with perpetually aggrieved blacks and pathetically "concerned"
whites who see racists on every street corner.
suddenly I was faced with the astonishing sight of the so-called
"transformational" president of the United States attacking a
Cambridge cop — and casually insulting police officers in general in
this country who he says have a problem with racial profiling —
during a news conference being broadcast around the world.
decided that things have become entirely too bizarre and it's time
to withdraw to Walden Woods, so to speak: Quietly resist the
government, simplify my life, follow my own drummer.
next few days, I shopped to beat the state sales tax increase —
purchasing the replacement shingles for my house just in time,
having a final Burger King meal and, at the last minute, buying
three little plants at the local garden center to replace the ones
that drowned last month. Maybe by next spring, the state will
realize it made a mistake increasing the sales tax, and it will be
repealed in time for me to shop for annuals again.
twins and I watched my classic "Red Dawn" video, giving me another
chance for a teachable moment about the Cold War and teenagers
resisting communism. Then we enjoyed the first two episodes of "Davy
Crockett" — the Disney version that was colorized for a 50th
anniversary edition. Too bad there wasn't time for the "Davy Goes to
Congress" episode in which his innate American virtue triumphs over
my mood of despair actually began to lift, though, when we went
touring in Salem. My first choice was the New England Pirate Museum,
which I had been saving until the grandchildren came. I doubt that
they enjoyed it more than I did, as I laughed out loud throughout
the guided tour and found myself wondering if I was too old to apply
for a job as a pirate tour guide.
thinking about that quote by H.L. Mencken: "Every normal man must be
tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and
begin slitting throats" — figuratively speaking, of course.
have two new hopeful bumper stickers on my car: "2010 — the Second
American Revolution," during which we the voters will remove many
incumbents at both the state and federal levels, and "1-05-11" — the
date that some brand-new state legislators are sworn in.
are already good candidates preparing to run against Congressman
John Tierney and Gov. Deval Patrick.
the family left, I watched the so-called "beer summit" at the White
House, one of the silliest stunts in recent political history and
thought how sometimes things work out in ways one does not expect.
many of us despaired of stopping President Obama from changing
America into one big, government-run entitlement, a courageous
police sergeant stood his ground and showed the country the
difference between a man and a political mirage. Policemen and
citizens across the nation backed the sergeant, and the mirage
delusional Obama voters: A teachable moment. Depart, despair!
America can yet be saved.