I’m sitting here in one of those ideal moments that we don’t experience nearly enough. I’m sitting out on a porch in almost jacket weather, with the lake not more than 30 ft. away. The water surface is like glass, with the only ripples coming from the occasional fish surfacing to jab at a bug. A storm rolled in last night and Mother Nature provided a fireworks show much more spectacular than any man-made display.
The last several days have been spent with family and friends, and it’s been an absolutely glorious time – a memory that will last a lifetime for our family. In part, these moments are special because they’re unique and somewhat rare. But, like any rancher, I’m hitting that restless stage, hoping everything is alright at home. It’s that nervous energy you get that precludes you from totally enjoying the moment because you start to feel guilty about the to-do list that isn’t growing any shorter in your absence.
We mostly played the last two days, reveling in how amazingly lucky we are to be born in America. It was the wisdom and sacrifice of our founding fathers that helped to create this grand experiment and enabled the succeeding generations to write a story that forever changed the world. The result is that America has become the world’s sole economic and military superpower.
I have no doubt that capitalism, free enterprise, freedom, liberty, and representative democracy still work. I understand that the morals and values that created America were fundamental to its success, and I understand the sacrifices that were made and won by preceding generations on our behalf. And still, history tells us that countries and civilizations almost always decline, and that they fail from within.
Despite the past experiences of the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and having a front row seat to the demise and slow fall of Western Europe, we’re seeing attempts to take us down the same path. I just hope that in the months ahead, I can do my part not only to convey the message that progress doesn’t mean a rejection of the values that made this country great but rather embracing them with more zeal than in the past.
There seems to be an air of inevitability that America is changing, in a negative way, and that we must embrace these changes and accept the erosion of the ethos that made America great. While I have no doubt that America is changing and will change, I hope the change that occurs is not the result of an attack on American values but rather change that occurs as a result of them. It is incumbent on each generation to pass the legacy on.
I’ve always thought of wars in terms of armies, battles and the sacrifices of brave men and women in uniform. I’ve been slow to understand that cultural wars are perhaps an even greater threat and deserve a similar response as the more direct attacks on this country. I hope you had a great Independence Day, and God Bless America.