During the last ten days, perhaps beginning with the fatal shooting of Chris Kyle and the public outpouring of support and condolences to his family, there has been a noticeable difference in the public discourse about feeling and being an American, what’s important to us, what we value, what touches our hearts and souls, why so many of us feel our country is on the wrong course, and the worry about our futures and that of our families’.
Superbowl Sunday, we witnessed a razzle-dazzle, strutting, over-the-top half-time performance by one of America’s current pop-culture idols. And yet, for all that glitz, glam, and bombast, there were two commercials that touched people’s psyches and hearts, and were the memories of that Sunday for so many. The first was by Dodge Ram Trucks, “for the farmer in all of us.” The commercial was modeled after the original version uploaded to YouTube over a year ago, which is slightly longer, but just as moving.
The second commercial, which also tugged on collective heartstrings of a kinder, gentler America was Budweiser’s, “Brotherhood”, featuring a Clydesdale foal raised by his Budweiser handler, and years later becomes the lead horse for the Budweiser parade wagon, only to never forget the man who raised him.
These two commercials, each with over 10 million YouTube views, reflect the “still waters run deep” current that we have in America today. Whether our uneasiness about the economy, our jobs, our futures, most of us still feel the unabashed pull belief in the two miracles, written by our Founding Fathers: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with its Bill of Rights. We, the People. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Dr. Benjamin Carson, world-renowned pediatric neuro-surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, spoke eloquently at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC last Thursday, February 7. Dr. Carson is noted for his deep religious faith, his belief in his fellow human being, his love of country, and personifies that time-old credo, if you work hard, believe in yourself, you can succeed. His speech, shown below in its entirety, is worth watching in its entirety.
Dr. Carson’s speech, given in 25 minutes without a teleprompter, embodied the kind of leadership, encouragement, hope and inspiration that we find so lacking in our society and leaders today. His speech went viral because it touched the yearning chord in us for someone to speak out about the moral and fiscal state of our country; how political correctness and over-sensitivity is hampering much needed civil discourse in this country to solve our problems; the need the need for education to lift people from poverty, and yet to not forget what has separated us from the rest of the world in finding solutions to our problems, thus making us the great nation that we are.
“Why is it so important that we educate our people? Because we don’t want to go down the pathway as so many pinnacle nations that have preceded us. I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could even challenge them militarily, but what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don’t think that can happen to America, you get out your books and you start reading, but you know, we can fix it.”
“The pc police are out in force at all times….And we’ve reached reach the point where people are afraid to actually talk about what they want to say because somebody might be offended. People are afraid to say Merry Christmas at Christmas time. Doesn’t matter whether the person you’re talking to is Jewish or, you know, whether they’re any religion. That’s a salutation, a greeting of goodwill. We’ve got to get over this sensitivity. It keeps people from saying what they really believe.”
” ….take a look at the chapter on education in my latest book, America the Beautiful, which I wrote with my wife – it came out last year, and in that education chapter you will see questions extracted from a sixth grade exit exam from the 1800′s – a test you had to pass to get your sixth grade certificate. I doubt most college graduates today could pass that test. We have dumbed things down to that level and the reason that is so dangerous is because the people who founded this Nation said that our system of government was designed for a well-informed and educated populace, and when they become less informed, they become vulnerable. Think about that. That is why education is so vitally important.”
We’re in the Age of the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo. And now we learn that the State of California will no longer require eighth graders to take Algebra courses. This must be what Dr. Carson had in mind when he used the term, “dumbing down of America.” In the quest for social justice, and no one’s feelings get hurt, we, the children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren of the “Greatest Generation,” are on our way to becoming the last generations who enjoy freedom and the American way of life that our ancestors never took for granted.
Dr. Carson said, “we can fix this.” The only question is, do we still have the will.