The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Blessed to be an American

I am always saddened when I hear Americans trash their homeland as if it were the worst country in the world. There seems to be a lot of this going around these days. And, perhaps most surprisingly, much of it comes from those who have most benefitted from that which makes the United States so different from all other nations.
Kaepernick et al. Kneeling
Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, academics, media pundits, lifelong self-serving politicians, ingrained bureaucrats, and assorted billionaires express truly remarkable hatred for the nation that made their worldly success possible. It's remarkable because, for so many, their parents and grandparents came to this country impoverished, seeking the better life which their descendants now enjoy.
Hollywood Intelligentsia
These elites, who mistakenly assume that worldly wealth and power are the product of wisdom, not only hate the nation and the founding principles that brought it into being, but also its most hard-working, productive people. Most disturbingly, the elites hate those who would sacrifice their lives to ensure the freedom of those who despise them. 

They attack our Constitution, a document specifically designed to keep us free and protect us from the tyranny of  elites of every stripe. Far more than the men who wrote and ratified it, the Constitution is responsible for our nation's greatness and continued existence.

But, of course, they must also attack our nation's founding fathers for their sins, forgetting that all men are sinners who still manage to accomplish good, and occasionally great, things. In their ignorance and their pride they consider themselves far superior not only to their fellow citizens, but also to the giants who went before them.

Is our nation perfect? Of course not. Perfection is unattainable through human means. But its perfections far outnumber its defects. And having traveled throughout much of the world, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. 

Ben Stein
Yes, indeed, I am saddened by these shameless attacks; but every so often I encounter something that offers at least a glimmer of hope.

Ben Stein, whom many would probably number among the elites since he is an economist, speech writer, media pundit, actor, etc. And yet he seems to be a man with a reasonably accurate sense of self-worth, one who accepts that success is largely the result of gifts from both God and man.

Occasionally, therefore, he can be counted on to write some wonderful things. In a recent American Spectator piece -- from Ben Stein's Diary -- he wrote the following:

"I spend a lot of time thanking God for letting me live in America, the greatest refuge that man ever created. I pray endlessly for the families and the souls of those who died in agony fighting the Nazis and the Japanese and the Communists to keep us free. I have air conditioning. Hot water. Indoor plumbing. Super abundance of food. Warm blankets. And freedom to do as I wish all day long. Yes, and I owe every bit of it to men and women who never even knew me, but who fought and lost lives and limbs so that I, a total unknown to them, could live in peace and prosperity. What thanks is possibly even remotely adequate?"
A comment worth sharing from a man, who like me, is 73 years old and has also reaped the harvest of the far greater lives that came before us. Thank God that, among our youth, we can still count many who believe their country is worth serving and saving. But too many today (like pajama boy below) think otherwise.  

Will these United States survive what may well be its greatest challenges? As one who served his country for many years, I suppose I'm hopeful, but, like the psalmist, I've also learned to
Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save [Ps 146:3].
...and so I place my trust in God alone, thanking Him for what I am and have, but asking only that His will be done. 

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