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Who’s in Charge?

Sadly, in today’s world, the word ‘bubble’ has taken on a totally different meaning than that used to describe a luxurious bath or a child’s gum. It’s now a protective word meant to shield one from interactions and danger from the outside world. During last month’s Little League Baseball World Series, the ‘bubble’ that surrounded

Sadly, in today’s world, the word ‘bubble’ has taken on a totally different meaning than that used to describe a luxurious bath or a child’s gum. It’s now a protective word meant to shield one from interactions and danger from the outside world.

During last month’s Little League Baseball World Series, the ‘bubble’ that surrounded me was self-inflicted from the standpoint that while engaged in the radio broadcast duties of Series games, I had little time for anything else. Show up at 9:00 a.m., get home at 9:00 p.m., grab a bite, and hit the sack — the next day repeat. No complaints, I loved it but was mostly unaware of things going on outside my assigned duties.

On Thursday, August 26, I got home early and flicked on the TV to check the news. That’s when I learned of the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport that left 13 American servicemen and women dead, along with scores of Afghanis either killed or wounded. The news sickened me, and anger arose from within. This had nothing to do with one’s political views; rather, the lack of commitment, honor, human dignity, and governmental failure to just do the right thing. Too big a price had already been paid for twenty years in Afghanistan, but the manner in which the United States of America pulled the plug was disgraceful.

Our son, Doug, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has served two one-year tours in Afghanistan. He has told me stories of the atrocities inflicted by the Taliban before our country’s intervention and how improvements to the daily lives of Afghanis were being achieved. It can certainly be argued that attempting to pioneer changes to a culture hundreds of years old was a losing battle, as attested to by the conflicts in Afghanistan’s history. It has been the prevailing opinion of most Americans it was time to bring our troops home. But like everything else, there is a right and wrong way to achieve the desired result.

It is overly simplistic, but as a fan of country music, the messages contained in the lyrics of many country songs attest to the lives we lead. Such George Jones tunes “Choices” and “Two Story House” hauntingly describe things gone wrong in individual’s lives.

Still filled with the disgust brought about by that August 26 news, I left home to run an errand. Ironically, the song playing on the car radio was an old Willie Nelson tune entitled The Last Cowboy Song. The song’s words lamented the ending of the cowboy era in America when that way of life was disappearing from the American scene. If you’ve never heard the song, two lines of its verse were ringing home to me.
This is the last cowboy song, the end of a hundred-year waltz
Voices sound sad as they’re singing along, another piece of America’s lost

The parallel to Nelson’s song is that far too quickly, we are losing great chunks of what America had grown to be and the esteem to which this nation had been viewed by freedom-loving nations across the globe. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, could be counted upon to live by its word and was a shining example of what people inspired to be.

In an 1838 speech, President Abraham Lincoln told the assembled crowd, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we lose our freedoms, it will be because we have destroyed ourselves from within.” I wonder what Honest Abe would be saying about the state of affairs today?

Lincoln is remembered as the man who saved the Union from destruction emanating from the Civil War. President Franklin D. Roosevelt led the nation, and the free world, through the dark days of WWII; President Ronald Regan stood up to the Russians and tore down the Berlin Wall. Sadly, during the last three decades, those who have ascended to our nation’s highest office have included a womanizer, an American apologist, and an ego-eccentric. Today, the holder of that office is an embarrassment.

In 1970, another country song written by Bill Anderson asked the question, Where have all our heroes gone? 

Perhaps that is the greatest dilemma America faces today. Where have they gone? It is a tragedy that in this country, the greatest nation that has ever existed, that the democratic system cannot identify a truly inspiring, qualified individual to lead us. I would venture a guess that in the last presidential election, a huge amount of the electorate cast their ballot against an individual rather than for the candidate they ultimately voted for. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to seek out a presidential president instead of bellyaching about rigged elections? We haven’t had one of those in a while.

But think about it. Why would anyone who has achieved success through their own hard work and perseverance want to run for president? Not the way we choose candidates today. How many of us have had something in our backgrounds that we are not proud of, or were youthful discretions? I don’t see too many hands raised disputing the same.

Running for president today or any other high-ranking office of leadership is like running a public relations gauntlet. The opposition spends huge sums of money and energy trying to dig up as much dirt as they can to smudge reputations. Why then would someone want to put themselves through that?

One obvious answer is power. But the founding fathers set forth the principle that the government should serve the people, not the other way around. It is becoming increasingly evident that the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is president by title only. If not, why would he make the statement during a press conference, “The first person I was instructed to call on was Kelly O’Donnell from NBC.”

Instructed to call on? Who is pulling the president’s strings? That is a question that needs to be answered before President Lincoln’s prophetic words of 1838 become America’s epitaph.

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