It's beautiful day today. As I write this, sitting in the diner of a truckstop in southern New Jersey, it's a bright sunny day with only a few white puffies in the sky. Gonna be another hot one. Already pushing 90.
As I drove down here, I heard the radio ad by the Obama administration's Dept. of Agriculture touting how wonderful it is to receive food stamps and I thought, "Whatever happened to the celebration of rugged individualism? The honest self-respect of providing for yourself and your family? The almost inborn resistance to going to someone else "hat in hand" hoping for a few pennies? Are we really that close to losing the once-undeniable characteristics of an American (pride, self-reliance, independence & the "I can do it" mindset) citizen?"
Not only are we losing it, we're being encouraged to do so. Through a series of government-sponsored efforts, we are being told that the idea of providing for ourselves is an unreasonable expectation in this day and age; that no one can succeed without government assistance.
I read a new article the other day about a Department of Agriculture project spending millions of our tax dollars in an effort to convince people in Appalachia to get beyond the culture of "Mountain Pride" and sign up for food stamps and government assistance. Apparently the idea of being fiercely independent and taking pride in providing for yourself and your family has been deemed detrimental. They're even handing out prizes to the local departments that succeed in persuading the most people to give up their mountain pride in favor of accepting government handouts.
......local assistance offices have been rewarded for “counteracting” pride and pushing more people to sign up for benefits.
Apparently, the desire to be self reliant and to provide for one's self and family is a barrier to be overcome by government lobbying.
The vision of the proud American Rugged Individualist is being replaced by a vision of pathetic government dependents, unable to do for themselves and unwilling to even entertain the thought of trying.
Not to sound like some old fart from "back in my day" but this is most certainly NOT the America I was blessed to grow up in. We used to celebrate success and to point to the successful man or woman as a role model to pattern ourselves after; someone to emulate, not chastise for daring to attain too much and thus making others feel bad. We didn't disdain the company of those who had fallen on hard times and needed temporary assistance. Far from it. We were (and still are) more than willing to help those trying to help themselves get back on their feet. We DID, however, have disdain for those who were unwilling to do the minimum necessary to provide even minimally for themselves (when the social assistance programs first began, public service was a prerequisite for benefits. You were expected to contribute what you could, similar to the way that Habitat for Humanity requires that it's recipients spend a minimum amount of hours helping to construct the home they are to live in).
Even the bum in the alley and the drunk in the gutter performed a public service. They served as a cautionary tale, an illustration to children that their parents could point to of what could happen to them if they didn't steer clear of drugs and alcohol or if they were inattentive in school and failed to take advantage of the chance to learn a skill or trade.
What are our children being taught now? That it's ok to "do their thing" and to "express themselves" however they feel. Sexual experimentation isn't discouraged, it's enabled! Often against the express wishes of the parents with "they're gonna do it anyway" given as an excuse to provide minor children with free condoms and birth control in school (they can't bring an aspirin in with them for a headache, but they can get pharmaceuticals, without parental notification, with no problem). When they have a hard time with the material, it's either dumbed down or they are given the answers and allowed to "retest" until they pass. When they don't have the athletic skills to make the team, the coaches are told they are required to allow them an equal amount of playing time in order to protect their self esteem. They are given "participation trophies" just for showing up, and schools are doing away with the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the graduating class because showcasing the best students may ruin the experience for the others who didn't excel.
None of this does any good. Even when they don't keep score, the kids know who won/lost. The handing out of meaningless awards only serves to diminish the value of real accomplishment. The young have been educated to believe that "success" can be had without effort and that if you can't (or won't) do what is necessary to succeed on your own, don't worry, someone else will be there to make it all better.
And now, after working on the kids for years, the focus is widening to encompass the adults still daring to hold to the values they grew up with. As part of the drive to reduce the adults' reluctance to participate in the assistance programs, they are also being touted as being "stimulative" and a boost to the economy.
From the Daily Caller:
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the
Senate Budget Committee, described USDA’s assertion that food stamps are
beneficial to the economy as “ludicrous.”
Sessions, who has had his eye on food stamp reform for years, added
that USDA’s focus on reducing cultural impediments to food stamp
participation is particularly concerning.
The USDA also suggests "Food Stamp Parties" as a means of increasing participation. (ie, dependence)
Well, now. Isn't that just special? Just what the founders had in mind, I'm sure.
Damn, I need a beer! Happy Independence Day.