Happy Birthday America!
Let’s hope you enjoy many more –
Happy Birthday you grand and glorious country. Sorry I’m a few weeks late, but I wanted to make a birthday wish that would help you past your current problems. Really help. A lot of panaceas came to mind. It was tempting to pick one, toss coins in a wishing well, and mumble an incantation.
The more I thought about a silver bullet answer to save you … the one idea, the one person, the one of anything, the more apprehensive I became. What made this country great, and it has been the greatest nation of all time, has been the sum, not the one. That was true in 1776, and if we are to survive and prosper … to continue to be a great nation … it must be true today. The sum adds all the “D” words that forged this nation: Dissent, Disagreement, Differences, Diversity……. The amalgam of those “D” words spawned ideas that built the colossus that is the United States. One “D” word is notably absent from the list. It’s Division. Unfortunately, right now we’re closer to being the Divided States of America. We’re certainly not the United ones.
Logic whispered in my ear, “What we need for your friend (that’s you my country) is the reincarnation of those founding fathers. We need their ability and willingness to disagree, at times so vehemently that some refused to speak to each other and communicated through the written word only. But, when decision time came, decisions that impacted the nation’s welfare, personalities, ideologies, and lust to retain control were sacrificed. It was their wisdom that prevailed.” Made sense to me… at first.
Reality smacked me in the face like a three day dead mackerel, wielded by a NFL tackle. Even our revered forefathers would find tough sledding with today’s media twisting their words to favor whatever ideological side for which they propagandize. They’d have to be willing to batter their skulls against a brick wall. That would require stubborn … Ah! I had my wish for you.
Here it is. United States of America, I wish for you … a bunch of stubborn people like Don Roebling, the grandson of the Brooklyn Bridge’s builder, and Marine General Holland Smith. It was their stubbornness and their dedication to you that helped you win World War II. Remember them? I learned a lot about Smith and Roebling when I was doing research for one of my books. There couldn’t be two more different people, yet their determination was a common bond. Smith fought the Navy Brass to get the Higgins Boat and Roebling’s LVT adopted as landing craft. He was willing to sacrifice his career to do what was right for his men and his country. But, he did it in the confines of the rules. When Roebling learned of the Marine Corps interest in his tracked craft, invented as a hurricane rescue vehicle, he gave them prototypes at a token price. When Congress maneuvered obstacles to try to “disqualify” his invention to favor their cronies, he signed over all his patents for one dollar, provided all the engineering changes the Marines wanted, built them, even provided spare parts … for nothing. He was incensed when the same congressmen and politicos that tried to torpedo his vehicle’s approval turned coat and tried to court his favor by sending “appropriations.” Roebling returned all the funds to the government accompanied by some choice words. He stayed within the rules, unlike is enemies. Without Roebling and Smith there would have been no D-day or Pacific island campaign as we know them.
Where could we find the forefathers’ wisdom, for my “Stubborn Brigade?” They’d need that. BAM! It occurred to me that all that wisdom was in a package. That package is called the Constitution. It’s infinitely flexible, if all provisions are honored, so all our people have their say. The one thing that it doesn’t include is being ignored or interpreted to suit ones personal views.
So … Happy Birthday America! I’m sure those stubborn men and women are on the way!