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Betty Arenson: Is this your America?

Posted: March 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Are you living in the America that you want? Do you think present-day America is what our forefathers intended it to be?

Once upon a time, America’s theme was Mom, baseball, the red-white-blue and apple pie. Reminiscence of Ellis Island nurtured our beliefs that we were safe with transparent legal immigration and secured borders.

Somehow we knew we were in the best country on the planet; after all we had the U.S. Constitution as our umbrella.

Schools taught America’s greatness. Classes started with the Pledge of Allegiance. People were not mocked, chastised or harassed when being vocal about their personal beliefs in God.

We knew taking an oath in court meant one hand on a Bible vowing to tell the truth “so help me God.”

Knowing that religious scriptures and biblical quotes are on nearly every public building and monument, especially in Washington D.C., did not drive us to destructively protest or file lawsuits.

Fundamentally, we did not seek to be offended.

That America knew the meaning of the “heartland.” It meant sharing meager belongings with a needy neighbor, knowing a hand-up would help him prosper on his own because he had the same values.

A “dirt poor” existence didn’t mean being paralyzed with discouragement because we knew of a promising horizon ahead.

There was no prevailing thought of “free stuff.” Instead, one would work, better their skills, strive for the next best job while taking and accepting personal responsibility.

It seemed inherent that one would take care of his family, live within its means, pay the due bills and yes, one’s “fair share” of taxes. We didn’t know “give me” and “give me now.”

No, that world was not Pollyanna; we knew sacrifice and we knew good from evil.

I lived that life. It was a time of less; certainly one of less governmental intrusion. My dad wasn’t told what fertilizer to use or what insecticide to spray on his crops and with certainty; he was never paid to not plant crops.

Those fields were our grocery store; our existence demanded sweaty toiling in the soil.

Yes; we built that!

My family would have simply been elated to have electricity and indoor plumbing. Now we have the government mandating the specific light bulb and toilet we’ll buy. Wholly outrageous!

With each passing day, that America is nearly outside the scope of comparison to today. There isn’t a time when a president or the government was without criticism, but I do not recall a time when both were so feared by the people they are supposed to serve.

Rasmussen reported a March 9th poll finding that 64 percent believe America is on the wrong track, with 29 percent opining the opposite. For those polled, the numbers translate to nearly 69 percent of Americans believing our country is in decline.

President Obama holds highly adverse numbers in job approval, the economy and foreign policy. Summarily, that points to America’s woeful lack of leadership.

On our home front, the government has intruded into our private lives and personal resources with unbridled abandon. Did you ever think the IRS would be regimenting your health care and exposing your personal files or the NSA/government freely accessing any/all of your communications?

In February and March respectively, President Obama mandated private businesses must now justify their employee terminations to the IRS and he authorized the Department of Labor to write regulations dictating pay rates for various classes of employees.

The realties ought to terrify thinking Americans.

As for foreign policy, America is conspicuously weakened from a once-super power. President Obama heartily earned that for us.

At the March 26, 2012, Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama was caught on a hot mic telling then- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, “After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev replied, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.” That subversive act told Putin all he needed to know; the adversary got the wink and America got a knife in the back.

Not subversive, in August 2013, was Obama drawing a red line to threaten Syria. Syria laughed and polished its chemical weapons.

With the predictable lack of consequence or follow-through, Obama announced in Stockholm in September 2013, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line ... my credibility is not on the line.”

President Obama may believe his credibility is not on the line, but America’s definitely is.

It’s a very scary time when Americans genuinely fear their government while foreign enemies do not.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident, has lived in the SCV since 1968 and is active in a local Republican club.



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