July 4, 2014

How Beautiful We Were

kent_at_peace.jpg

A short list. In no particular order.

We told our children that any child could grow up to be President. And then we made it come true.

We had car shows, boat shows, beauty shows and dog shows.

We ran robots on the surface of Mars by remote control.

Our women came from all over the world in all shapes and sizes hues and scents.

We actually believed that all men are created equal and tried to make it come true.

Everybody liked our movies and loved our television shows.

We tried to educate everybody, whether they wanted it or not. Sometimes we succeeded.

We did Levis.

We held the torch high and hundreds of millions came. No matter what the cost.

We saved Europe twice and liberated it once.

We believed so deeply and so abidingly in free speech that we protected and honored and, in some cases, even elected traitors.

We let you be as freaky as you wanted to be.

We paid you not to plant crops and not to work.

We died in the hundreds of thousands to end slavery here. And when that was done continued for a century and a half around the world.

We invented Jazz.

We wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysberg address.

We went to the moon to see how far we could hit a golf ball.

We lifted a telescope into orbit that could see to the edge of the universe.

When people snuck into the country against our laws, we made parking lots and food stands off to the side of the road so they wouldn't get hurt, and we let them use our hospitals for free, and we made their children citizens.

We didn't care what God you worshipped as long as we could worship ours.

We let the People arm themselves at will. Just to make sure.

We gave everybody the vote.

We built Disneyworld. Just for fun.

We had a revolution so successful it was still going strong two and a quarter centuries later.

We had so many heroes, even at the end, that we felt free to hate them and burn them in effigy.

We electrified the guitar.

We invented a music so compelling that it rocked the world.

We had some middling novelists.

We had some interesting painters.

We had some pretty good poets.

We had better songwriters.

We ran our farms so well we fed the globe.

We made the automobile and the airplane.

We let you get rich. Really, really rich. And we didn't care who you were or what you were or where you came from or who your parents were. We just cared about what you made or what you did.

We had poor people who, even at their most wretched, were richer than any other poor people on the face of the planet.

We were the most nobel nation the world had ever known.

We had so much freedom that many of us voted to just throw it all away.

Even towards the end, as we dissolved into the petty bickering and idle entertainments that come with having far too much leisure and money, many among us were still striving to make it higher, finer, brighter, better and more beautiful.

Even towards the end, the best of us declined to give up and pressed on. "Where to? What next?"
[First published 2007]


Posted by Van der Leun at July 4, 2014 2:41 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Its going going going....gone over the center field wall. Home Run!!!

Thanks again for the beauty you bring.

Posted by: Pierre at March 24, 2007 3:18 PM

And why, why, why are there so many in this country and abroad -- the country that you, and only you, can describe with such eloquence, see us as the evil in the world?

You are a beacon shinning the brightest light possible on the truth. Truth matters to me and many others. Please continue shinning the light of truth.

Thank you again for what you were created to do!

Posted by: ChiefTestPilot at March 24, 2007 3:53 PM

We created a society where the poorest among us did not need to worry about starvation, but obesity.

We created a society that lauded a dictatorship in Cuba so passionately that they forgot to wonder why so many die trying to flee it.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at March 24, 2007 4:21 PM

You never fail to write what we need to read.

Now if you'd only serve up some single malt and a good cigar....

Posted by: Lance de Boyle at March 24, 2007 6:27 PM

What's this "at the end" bullshit? I ain't quitting.

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at March 24, 2007 7:04 PM

F***ing A Ditty bag!

Posted by: Dennis at March 24, 2007 7:50 PM

Gerard ...........

Posted by: Pamela at March 24, 2007 7:55 PM

What's this "at the end" bullshit?

You didn't read the linked poem, did you?

Posted by: Brian at March 24, 2007 8:03 PM

Mars?

I don't need to get there. But the Idea does.

We need never give up on that, brother.

Posted by: phred at March 24, 2007 10:12 PM

How beautiful you were. Indeed. you forgot the tap dancers btw and the love goddesses.

Posted by: promachus at March 24, 2007 11:29 PM

Is that (are those) by Rockwell Kent?

Posted by: Gandalin at March 25, 2007 9:42 AM

Brilliant.

Posted by: dan l at March 25, 2007 10:52 AM

Yes, the illustrations are by Kent.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at March 25, 2007 11:08 AM

So true, thanks (Jeez, I thought at least 2 week would go by before you topped the last one...!)

Can I get an Amen somebody!

Posted by: Das at March 25, 2007 11:48 AM

Das: You got your Amen right here! (Thanks from me too, Gerard.)

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at March 25, 2007 2:23 PM

I'll certainly join in that amen chorus. Such a treat!

Posted by: Jimmy J. at March 25, 2007 4:34 PM

I always did like Rockwell Kent. He was one of my parents' favorite artists, entirely because of his political orientation, from his New Masses days to Moby Dick, and so on. (Some people credit his illustrations with reviving Melville's posthumous career.) According to the Wikipedia, Kent donated his 1967 Lenin Prize winnings (in rubles?) to North Vietnam. In allowing his pictures to grace your implacable and immortal essay, you are putting his skills as an illustrator to a better use than he did himself.

Posted by: Gandalin at March 25, 2007 7:47 PM

We looked up from whatever misery we endured and we said "This sucks. I'm leaving."

We came without money, without family, without connections.

We scrubbed toilets, and saved our surplus, and brought our families over to help us scrub toilets.

We abandoned our homelands, our cultures, our music, our faiths. We weren't just risk tolerant; we were risk indulgent.

We came, generation after generation, learned the local patois, found ways to add value and meaning and context.

We sought our companions and future families from the other immigrants from other cultures. We learned love is more durable than tolerance.

We refreshed the American spirit decade upon decade. As previous generations of Americans became soft and complacent, we burned with a passion for liberty, for opportunity, for a future worth dying for.

We enriched the cultural stew with our own peculiar perspectives. We created a market for goods, services, and diversions unlike anything the world had ever seen.

We threw cash like a printing press.

We invested it in our homes, our families, our communities, and our economic future.

We sacrificed our sons and daughters so that our grandchildren may never have to say "This sucks. I'm leaving."

Posted by: Alan Chamberlain at March 25, 2007 11:05 PM

Hey, Alan, now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun at March 26, 2007 9:19 AM

I agree, Gerard. A fitting addenda to your original.

The true measure of a people is not that they persevere in spite of troubles and travails, but because of them. That they are inspired to rise above themselves because of the difficulties they face. A people are great when they strive knowing their cause is not favored, and indeed has little hope of success.

I once saw a bulletin board sig that read something like this...

Professor: You have but a 5% chance of success. What sort of people dare with such paltry odds?

Adventurer: Heroes professor, heroes.

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at March 26, 2007 11:40 AM

Thanks. I'm insufferably pleased with myself.

Posted by: Alan Chamberlain at March 26, 2007 6:53 PM

Well, well said -- for much of it. Gotta quibble, though, Sybil -- Viz. -- now that you mention it, if you compare East St. Louis with the worst of Bradford or London, or the South Bronx ("no thonx") with the wretchedest arrondissements of Paris, or Flint, MI, with Calabria, or, or, or... there is no/no doubt that in general the poorest in most of Europe are MUCH better off than the poorest in our Un-tied States. In some countries of the Bad Old UrContinent, it is not all that easy to locate an actual, bona-fide poor person: A person without medical coverage of any kind. A person who lives in an appliance carton. A functionally illiterate person who is the child of such another who is the child of such another. Been there, seen it, done that, lived in Europe, lived in the Third World, lived in seven states and visited all 50. With this one, so sorry, I think you hit the nail right on the thumb.

Posted by: 2801 Fulton at March 27, 2007 1:41 AM

"Some middling novelists" . . .

Whaaat?!?

Posted by: Scribe at March 27, 2007 6:11 AM

I'm not done and I'm not leaving. My friends and family aren't done and they aren't leaving either. Those who want to let America die in moral neglect will not prevail. Because while they have disarmed themselves for a serious, eternally worthwhile life, we are re-arming and re-committing ourselves.

Those whose religion is denial can do no better than to hide their faces in their own depravities while our enemies try to co-opt America. But while their cowardice shames only themselves, the brave among us will redeem us all.

America was made by risk loving tough guys and gritty women. People who'd rather die spitting in the face of evil than to live under its beguiling suppress. And America will be saved by their spiritual sons and daughters.

The world is full of people who respect and honor themselves and their neighbors. Every one of them is one of us, a free American at heart if not in geography. The American dream is the heart and soul of humanity; ever to be carried and re-born in the fire of human passions.

Posted by: askmom at March 27, 2007 8:07 AM

I can agree with all of the above, except for the electric guitar.

Posted by: Tom Bullock at March 27, 2007 8:40 AM

"In some countries of the Bad Old UrContinent, it is not all that easy to locate an actual, bona-fide poor person: A person without medical coverage of any kind. A person who lives in an appliance carton. A functionally illiterate person who is the child of such another who is the child of such another."

Simply not true at all. Paris has a growing problem of homelessness, with many people living in camping tents that have been given to them by various philanthropists.

The average dwelling size in which live the people the American census as "below the poverty line" is larger than the average dwelling size for all people in Paris.

As for free medical care, in many cases, what that means is free access to nothing.

Posted by: Gandalin at March 27, 2007 12:21 PM

We came on the ship they called the Mayflower,
We came on the ship that sailed the Moon,
We came in the age's most uncertain hour,
And sang an American tune...

But it's all right,
It's all right,
You can't be forever blessed,
Still, tomorrow's gonna be another working day,
And I'm trying to take my rest,
That's all I'm trying,
To get some rest.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at March 28, 2007 1:58 AM

Bullock - go get a CD of Kenny Burrell or Barney Kessell or Wes Montegomery and then let's talk about the electric guitar...cheers

Posted by: doug at March 28, 2007 11:26 AM

I have a great idea: Alan and Gerard can team up in an America First Salute write-a-thon, then do a live performance, say in Madison Square Garden, of their work to the background music of....... electric guitars!

Whadda think, fellows?

Posted by: Webutante at March 28, 2007 6:01 PM

askmom
I'm not done and I'm not leaving. My friends and family aren't done and they aren't leaving either. Those who want to let America die in moral neglect will not prevail. Because while they have disarmed themselves for a serious, eternally worthwhile life, we are re-arming and re-committing ourselves.

That's fine, askmom. But the American Dream didn't start off as the American Dream - it was seeded by the Enlightenment, fertilized in England, then carried here and nurtured ...

The point is that we can move on and spread this elsewhere. The Dream - the ehtos, the ideals - are not tied to a bit of land.

They can fly and take root elsewhere. And they will if some of us have anything to say about it.

Don't look down on some of us who want to chase our dreams to the stars.

Posted by: Brian at March 29, 2007 7:19 PM

What is the piece of music in the video?

It is really familiar (and gorgeous) but I cannot place the composer...

Posted by: Dave Halliday at December 22, 2007 10:56 PM

It is called Gabriel's Oboe from "The Mission" by Ennio Morricone - Score for the film, The Mission

Posted by: vanderleun at December 22, 2007 11:06 PM

Where to and what next? Simple. America could be once again united and have a sense of purpose, by someone who gave a speech that ended: "Back into the black - and this time to stay!"

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at December 23, 2007 5:28 AM

I second what Carl Sandburg said.

Posted by: gabrielpicasso at December 23, 2007 9:39 AM

"Where to? What next?

I think of the internet as a larger version of the old New England meeting house. In our meeting here we discuss "America, not perfect, but pretty awesome-can it survive?, can we make it better?". It is now my turn to stand amongst you "townsfolk" and say my piece. I'll wait until the murmuring in the back has stopped...

MY FELLOW CITIZENS, FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO THANK GERARD VANDERLEUN FOR CALLING US TOGETHER. AND I'D LIKE TO INVITE ALL OF YOU HERE TO JOIN ME IN A MOMENT OF SILENCE IN THOUGHT FOR THOSE WE'VE SENT TO BATTLEFIELDS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, TRYING TO MAKE IT A BETTER ONE..........

AND LET US SET ASIDE FOR A SMALL WHILE OUR FEELINGS TOWARD THOSE WHO HAVE TWISTED THIS WAR, WHICH WE NEVER ASKED FOR, INTO THEIR SHALLOW POLITICAL INSTRUMENT...

WE LOOK ON THIS NATIONS ACHEIVEMENTS IN AWE, AND ASK-WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PRESERVE THIS NATION AND MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR GOODNESS TO PREVAIL UPON THIS EARTH? WHO CAN BEST LEAD US? WHAT, IF ANYTHING CAN WE DO AS INDIVIDUALS TO PRESERVE THIS UNION AND SAVE CIVILIZATION?

FOLKS, THE FACT THAT WE ASK THESE THINGS AND ARE ALLOWED TO ASK THESE THINGS IS PROOF ENOUGH THAT LIBERTY IS STILL ON THE MARCH. OUR NATION HAS BEEN THROUGH TREMENDOUS TRIALS IN THE PAST AND NOW FUTURE GENERATIONS ASK US TO MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS.

AS WE HAVE SEEN, ONE OF OUR MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES HAS PUT ITS ENTIRE FAITH AND ALLEGIENCE TOWARD THE ORGANIZATION KNOWN AS THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE DICTATORS AND MONARCHS THAT IT CODDELS. I DO NOT HAVE TO TELL YOU FINE CITIZENS OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH AN ALLEGIENCE. HOW CAN ONE HAVE ALLEGIENCE TO THIS NATION AND THAT ORGANIZATION? MY OWN FAITH LIES IN THE COMFORT OF OUR OWN UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION WHICH HAS SERVED OUR NATION WELL. SOME HERE BELIEVE IT TO BE AN OUTDATED METHOD OF GOVERNANCE, BUT I DISAGREE WITH YOU. ANYTHING THAT YOU THINK IS OUTDATED CAN BE CHANGED, IF YOU CAN PERSUADE ENOUGH OF YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS OF THE NEED FOR THE CHANGE.

I DIGRESS.

SO, THE QUESTION IS: DO WE TRAVEL THE PATH OF THE UNITED NATIONS, SOCIALISM, AND THE END OF SO MANY RIGHTS WHICH WE HOLD DEAR?

MY FELLOW CITIZENS, I MAKE THIS PROPOSAL:

THIS NATION HAS NOT ALLOWED AN ADDITIONAL STATE TO ENTER ITS UNION SINCE AUGUST 21 ST, 1959. I PROPOSE THAT WE DEMAND OUR NATION'S LEADERS INVITE ANY NATION UPON THIS EARTH THAT WANTS TO, TO ENTER OUR UNION!

YOU MAY LAUGH, YOU MAY CHUCKLE, YOU MAY MOCK...

FOLKS, IT IS TIME TO GIVE THIS UN ORGANIZATION AND ALL ITS SOCIALIST MINIONS, A RUN FOR IT'S MONEY, WHICH I REMIND YOU MOST OF WHICH IS OURS. WHERE IS THE UNITED NATIONS COMPETITION? IT HAS NONE. WHERE IS THE UNITED NATIONS ACCOUNTABILITY? IT HAS NONE.

I YEARN FOR THE WORLDS CITIZENS TO ENJOY THE FREEDOM THAT I ENJOY NO MATTER THEIR RACE, CREED, SEX, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR HOWEVER THEY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES. AS LONG AS THEY WANT TO BE AMERICANS.

LET THE SOCIALISTS HOLE UP IN THAT RAMSHAKLE SHED BY THE HUDSON. LET THEM ENJOY THEIR PUTIN, CHAVEZ, CASTRO, AND THE REST.

THESE ARE TRYING TIMES, MY FRIENDS. THEY CALL FOR BOLD INITIATIVES.

BRING LIBERTY AND HOPE TO THE WORLD...

GIVE THEM THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, ONE MORE STATE AT A TIME.

Thank you for your time, I take my seat.

Posted by: JD at December 23, 2007 12:06 PM

Oh, and one more thing. We need the Line Item Veto.

Posted by: JD at December 23, 2007 12:11 PM

We had all those things, then along came a long period of Republican control of government, which bankrupted us in every sense. Fortunately, that looks very likely to change soon.

Posted by: Nigel at December 23, 2007 1:00 PM

We ain't outta ammo and I ain't quittin' either. Walt Whitman wouldn't approve, either.

Throw me another 30 round magazine, will ya?

Posted by: Jerry Greenhoot at December 23, 2007 6:35 PM

It's hard to deny that we seem to have entered the "Bread and Circuses" phase of our country's existence.

Posted by: StephenB at December 24, 2007 9:51 AM

StephenB, too right. The USA is not the only one, but it is the most important. Countries, and empires, usually hold off their internal problems by pursuing foreign adventures aimed at conquest. However, for the first time in history, the conquest can be pursued and eventually achieved at nobody else's expense.

The wild black yonder, the frontier that will never end and holds riches beyond our feeble Earthbound imagination, beckons. Has America the will? Has anyone? Wells had it right, in his writings in the 1920s. It is the universe or nothing. Which shall it be?

We edge slowly and by baby steps into the Century of Miracles. Or maybe the Tragic Century, and if so probably our last.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at December 24, 2007 5:44 PM

Not the end. Not yet. Just a shadow, not the darkness.

Thank you for the beautiful reminder of what we have to lose, if we choose to.

Posted by: Ride Fast at December 26, 2007 3:46 PM

I'm torn between Clapton on the acoustic and Knopfler on the electric.

Ah... decisions, decisions.

Posted by: BobK at November 5, 2008 10:46 AM

My respect and appreciation for you as a writer grows more every time I read something such as this. You are a damn fine writer. Sadly, I think some of your readers dont "get it".

Posted by: midtown miscreant at November 5, 2008 10:52 AM

This is post is amazing. It makes everything seem better. I am sad of course that we lost to the liberal illuminati but it's over now, and I think it's incredibly appropriate to value our country and celebrate its accomplishments, what makes where we live such a remarkable place.

Posted by: A.B. at November 5, 2008 11:55 AM

.
"Cheshire Puss," Alice began, "would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends", said the cat, "on where you want to to get to."

- Lewis Carroll

Posted by: Robert at November 5, 2008 1:04 PM

Okay, gotta ask this.

You here in this Town Hall Meeting: Can you answer my question? I'm looking for answers from wise conservatives. (Leftists need not answer unless they'll answer with sympathy rather than treating those like me as the enemy as they generally do.)

Here is the question:

Why is it that after six years of Republican "control" of government, we don't have *anything* conservative accomplished except for the tax rates being set exactly right?

We don't have voucher programs for education. (Granted, that's the states' job...but then it could be made a prerequisite of Federal aid.)

We don't have a privatization of Social Security.

We don't have health care based around powerful HSA's.

We don't have a center, let alone right-of-center, Federal Judiciary. The Supreme Court is exactly centrist: 4-and-4-and-a-swing.

What did we get? Tax cuts, sans meaningful reform. Oh and some wars. The wars don't much count; wars happen. Responding correctly to them, if that's what we did, is an obligation but it doesn't represent an advancement of the conservative agenda.

I guess my question is: WERE conservatives "in charge" for six years?

Or is the reality that a MODERATE was in the Presidency, and the Congress was evenly divided between leftists, conservatives, and some moderates who were elected as Republicans but sided with the other party against conservatives whenever a conservative agenda item came up?

Posted by: R.C. at November 5, 2008 5:13 PM

Or is the reality that a MODERATE was in the Presidency, and the Congress was evenly divided between leftists, conservatives, and some moderates who were elected as Republicans but sided with the other party against conservatives whenever a conservative agenda item came up?

S'truth. That said, conservatives (or even moderates, actually) do not get to define the labels. The media and the chattering classes take on that burden with relish, and from their perspective. It was enough that G.W. Bush "stole" the election in 2000, and that he opposed abortion, gay marriage, and dismantling the military. This in itself is enough to be labeled "conservative" in these times. Coupled with that, he didn't inspire - he was no performer, he didn't move the multitudes with his rhetoric - a fatal sin in the eyes of the "creative class" that is now in the process of taking the wheel, according to the narrative of the moment. The next four years will help us focus our minds on what is really important.

Posted by: mezzrow at November 5, 2008 5:48 PM

I can't help but think that the worse Ubama does with his diabolic efforts, the more forcefully we true conservatives will take this country back. It's time to play some serious smashmouth with all the lice-infested children of the ACLU.

Posted by: Marauder at March 30, 2009 8:20 PM

Two more reasons:
"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper

Dictators and demagogues can rest easy on President Obama’s watch. When thousands of Iranians flooded the streets of Tehran protesting a rigged election and were beaten and shot down by pro-regime thugs, the president bided his time before making a series of noncommittal statements. He seemed to hope it would all just go away. However, when a socialist demagogue was ejected unceremoniously from Honduras on Sunday by his own government for trying to establish a presidency for life, Mr. Obama instantly sprang to his defense.
America, America God shed his grace on thee...

Posted by: AL at July 3, 2009 2:25 AM

This is perhaps my favorite post.

It makes me ache for all that is slipping away.

One hopes Marauder's vision is correct - that we won't go quietly, hopelessly weakened by the thousand cuts being slammed through congress.

I know many who are getting ready.

Posted by: Cathy at July 3, 2009 6:47 AM

Most of all has slipped away. I doubt we could ever get it back again. That is the sad part. It is almost like someone turned off the lights.

Posted by: cilla mitchell at July 5, 2009 3:43 PM

Glad I'm 50 and don't have much longer to live. I won't see the worst of it. Hopefully.

Posted by: Jack at July 9, 2010 1:06 AM

I still have hope. Somehow, chains of dependence and gimmie will be thrown off. There is so much to see and do in the future, as long as it is unencumbered by a nanny state. Main problem is our current overlords are working to develop and maintain power. Their nanny instincts are totalitarian. Not for our own good, but for their strength. A revolution will occur, but we cannot know what shape it will take. Thanks for keeping this thread alive during a time to celebrate freedom.

Posted by: stephen b at July 2, 2011 8:06 AM

Thanks, Gerard. This post has been on my mind lately, as I wonder what sort of world my son will inherit.

Posted by: Julie at July 2, 2011 8:38 AM

The problems we face today are HUGE because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living.

This will end;it will not end well.

Posted by: Peccable at July 2, 2011 10:09 AM

I'd add a couple things in my American dream, Tommy Davis driving in 153 runs for the Dodgers in 1962, eating fried chicken weeping at a 4th of July celebration in the town square in rural Alabama, Curtis Mayfield, my wife, still a babe at 52, the late Keith Nolan's beautiful books about my war in Southeast Asia, my whole adult life listening to Bob Dylan, friends for the long haul, 4 great kids,a God that loves the common man. Is it over after 235 years, Hell no!

Posted by: bill at July 2, 2011 10:13 AM

We will fall. We will fall hard. The sad part, many people have no clue this is coming.

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at July 2, 2011 12:43 PM

We put together a team of kids and defeated what was until that point the greatest hockey team in the world, made up of men.

We produced men like William F. Buckley Jr. who dedicated an amazing amount of his life to advancing conservatism, instead of enjoying his leisure time more.

General Petreaus, having the options to not spend three years leading a bloody war, does in fact choose to do so for this country.

We have lots of Doggie Daycares, the Dumb Friends League, and the Furry Scurry.

Posted by: NotquiteunBuckley at July 2, 2011 4:13 PM

Boy, in the four years since you posted this, the despair quotient is on the rise. Perhaps it is the wistful use of the past tense. I don't think we're over, not by a long shot, but we do live in interesting times.

Posted by: Jewel at July 2, 2011 7:51 PM

Great List, Gerard. I love all of them. Keep up the great work...

Subsunk

Posted by: Subsunk at July 2, 2011 10:03 PM

I'm not giving up. Nobody I know is giving up. I look forward to seeing things added to this list. We're not through yet.

Posted by: waltj at July 3, 2011 1:47 AM

We were the most nobel nation the world had ever known.

We are still a noble nation, despite the number of Nobel Prizes given to those people here who would have despised Alfred in life for his many successes and whom he, in turn, would have despised for their infinite failures.

Posted by: BillT at July 4, 2012 3:59 AM

I'm 56 and want to see all of our deepest ideals vindicated and re-affirmed. It will be the struggle of our lives, but it is what we owe to this great nation and our children.

"..That this nation shall have a new birth of Freedom. That government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

We have a lot to live up to. I hope you are all up to it.

Posted by: David at July 4, 2012 2:42 PM

It's a nice post.

Posted by: michael journal at July 6, 2012 7:32 PM

"Even towards the end..."

Seemed a bit hasty six years ago. Today, not so much.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at July 4, 2013 4:37 AM

It cannot possibly be over. I am not dead yet. Never give up, at any cost. Pray for America.

Posted by: Roger Drew Williams at July 4, 2013 7:29 AM

Whitney Huston was a beauty with a stunning voice. Would to God she never hooked up with that crackhead Bobby Brown.
As for the USA, I'm all in for the fight. Screw the left, the grifters, tyrants, race baiters, degenerates and their ilk. This is my country. Jay Levinson took a .30 cal machine gun round in the neck and died right next to me in Duc Hoa province, the man I was named after died on Anzio Beach. Korea, Verdun, Antietum, Valley Forge, Fallujah, Helmand Province...enough good men's blood soaks the ground we'll never give up our birthright to these losers. Sic semper tyrannis.

Posted by: bill at July 4, 2013 11:32 AM

Right now, I weep for our country, for what it used to be but is no longer. But a day will come when weeping will end, and then I will remember that I am a free man who will not live as a slave. Liberty is our country and the children of Liberty will do what is necessary to defend her. And if God our Gracious Father is merciful to us once again, then someday the 4th of July will be a day of celebration and not mourning.

Posted by: Kurt at July 4, 2013 2:38 PM

next time, Kate Smith please. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p5ZWAfiNJA
-- ..Sometimes (most times) when I hear our national anthem I have to grind my teeth.. Everyone ought to be able to sing along in unison.. with no ad-libbing.. My old teeth are wearing thin.

Posted by: Russell Hlavac at July 4, 2013 10:34 PM

The country is arrived upon that stage where the old bard had Hamlet note the paradox and contradiction:

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in
reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving
how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel!
in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the
world! The paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no,
nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seem
to say so.

We had the cure, once. So we could again, as a people, someday. Here's a great evidence --these folks are talented to be sure --but just think of the hard hard dedicated work they put into delivering this breezy, easy-as-pie, smiling stuff.

http://tinyurl.com/kxjejf9

Posted by: buddy larsen at July 8, 2013 10:34 PM

We actually believed that all men are created equal

I never actually believed it. And anybody dumb enough to believe it deserve whatever they get. All men are equal in the Eyes of God, but that is where égalité ends.

I see what you were trying to do here, GVDL, and I truly don't mean any disrespect, but this sort of sic transit gloria patrios stuff is all lost on me now. I'm past the Beach Boys, past I Like Ike, past Frank Capra and guys in fedoras and the Marines raising the flag on goddamn Mount Suribachi. I have no more stomach for nostalgia. 48-Star America was great, but that country is gone, and looking back on it through teary eyes is as pointless a pastime as I can imagine. One might as well get misty over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At least the guy that ran that joint was a genuine saint [See].

I find it fitting that your post ends with a video of the national anthem being sung by a dead crack whore. A more appropriate metaphor for this Fourth of July can hardly be imagined.

Again, I don't mean to harsh your buzz, so to speak, but I'm pretty much done with looking back. I'm more and more ready to start looking forward -- forward to a better future, a future in which the fantasies of Locke and Lincoln are passed over and the realities acknowledged by our pre-enlightened ancestors are once again brought forth as the basis of society. I salute the America That Was, but her day is over. The hard, clean, unenlightened America that is coming will not be won by wistful nostalgia. The future I look forward to will be won by a hard, clean, unenlightened breed of American man.

May he come soon.

Please note: I admit that I am an asshole. As such, I don't know how to couch my opinions in soft, pleasing tones. I apologize if my honest opinions have offended anyone.

Posted by: B Lewis at July 4, 2014 8:14 AM

And when the 4th's fireworks are done
We, composed of stardust from our sun
Will still ponder what we are, what we've become --
Each wondering, wandering in the space of mind
With time enough now to be more kind.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at July 4, 2014 8:42 AM

B LEWIS

I agree with you completely. Today is the Fourth of July and something to celebrate as it was meant to be celebrated. It is not. The Fourth was my Grandmothers favorite day of the year. She came from a family of true Americans in every sense of the expression.

We must look ahead and carry our traditions to a new world. 'Americans' are truly 'the' great people. It is going to take men, not cowards and sissies to prevail. I do not live on faith. I believe in doing what is right and doing it myself without any reliance on someone else. In my view the "Creator" cut us loose to do as we may. Our destiny is not preordained and out of our control. It is in our control. This means direct action is required on our part in order to prevail. This is where the Man-up deal comes into effect. I will not walk into the rail box car without a fight to the death.

Posted by: Terry at July 4, 2014 9:19 AM

"If you gotta play at garden parties,
I wish you a lot of luck
But if memories were all I sang,
I’d rather drive a truck

But it’s all right now,
I learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone
so you gotta please yourself"

Posted by: vanderleun at July 4, 2014 9:23 AM

It occurs to me that Cadillac stole this idea from you for their commercial.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at July 4, 2014 12:10 PM

Oh, I think some of your novelists are or were better than middling. Poe, Twain, Hemingway, Capote, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Heller, Heinlein, Asimov, Neal Stephenson (if you don't know why I have put him alongside such greats, I suggest you read him). Maybe not quite as great as the British literary canon, but superb nonetheless.

Posted by: Doubting Rich at July 4, 2014 3:14 PM

Poe, strictly speaking, not much of a novelist. Twain, great one to be sure. Hemingway, Capote, Fitz, Steinbeck, Heller -- all vastly over rated . And rest assured I know the SF canon from Verne and Stapledon on out to the golden age and beyond into the punks and the cyberpunks etc, and Stephenson... Stephenson? Forgettable outside of his immediate era. And I've read him from Snow Crash on out. Indulgent and boring.

Posted by: vanderleun at July 4, 2014 3:34 PM

When you fall down, you just get up again.

Posted by: kath at July 5, 2014 3:09 PM