There was a quotation going around the internet during the whole "health care reform debate" attributed to former Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev:
"We cannot expect Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism."
Sounds like a scary prediction that seemed to be coming true this weekend--making Krushchev look like some kind of visionary. Only problem is, Krushchev likely never said it. The quote "appeared" during the Cold War era of the late 50's and early 60's--and no one has been able to verify it since.
So let's turn to Thomas Jefferson--one of the founding fathers--for some insight into where we are a country now:
"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
And you know, Jefferson is often called the first "Democratic" President. I wonder what he would think about the so-called "Tea Party Movement"?
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."
Hmmm, that's an interesting way to look at things--for a guy who stuck his own neck out to make sure that we enjoy the very freedoms we take for granted (and are so willing to hand over meekly) today.
The one viewpoint on being an "American" that I'm really holding onto right now comes from "My Creed" by Dean Alfange--ironically enough, the founder of the Liberal Party of New York in the 1920's:
" I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek to develop whatever talents God gave me—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – ‘This, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American."
I realize you can't fit that one on a bumper sticker and still have room for an "O" with a flag coming out of it--but consider that what I believe in.