Proud to be an American? Why yes, I am

I wproud to be an americanas doing my morning skimming of nbcnews.com when I happened upon this article.

71% of Americans believe the Founding Fathers would be disappointed with the country.

The article also shows that 81% of Americans are “proud to be American.”

The Founding Fathers

I certainly believe the founding fathers would have some things that disappointed them.. but not all of those things are because of a decline in the state of American life. For instance, many of the founding fathers might well be disappointed in the abolition of slavery. And certainly, women’s rights for many founding fathers would be equally problematic.

Of course, my favorite founding father, Benjamin Franklin, slave owner turned abolitionist leader, was more willing to analyze his own positions and modify them based on new information and understanding. I think he’d be okay with women having the right to vote… (as dangerous as that sounds) *running and hiding

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being critical of the founding fathers. Personally, what they did – their belief in individual liberties and their willingness to put their livelihood and lives on the line is truly noble. Remarkable in fact.

It is easy, in the hindsight of history, to say “I would never have..” – and for the most part, you are wrong! Sorry. Most of us aren’t so wonderful as we’d like to believe. Certainly not as brave as we’d want to believe. You likely do things now that others, down the road, will similarly criticize.

My thought, when I read the article, was that some founding fathers would be disappointed, some might night, but in the end, does that matter?

Our Founding Fathers were not perfect! They were men. Some drank too much. Some were womanizers (Ben – you rascal you). Some were bigots. Etc. They also didn’t agree with each other – much like today! In fact, disagreements were so severe some erupted into violence. Can you imagine duels between members of congress?!
(hint: if you want to raise money to offset the sequester, congressional cage fight pay-per-view might do it.)

Three Big Disappointments

If I were to identify the two big disappointments that the Founding Fathers would notice as much as anything, they would be these.

  1. Training in classical thought. Philosophers from Rome and Greece played a major part in the thinking and debate that formed our country. I think as a citizenry, we would do well to cover those lessons in school. And I am as guilty of ignorance here as anyone.
  2. A more entrepreneurial mindset/skillset. Most of the founding fathers and a good part of the country did not have jobs in a traditional sense. Mind you, things have changed and that is unavoidable in many ways. However, the idea of self-governance being wrapped in individual responsibility (our rights required our active participation) is a good one. More time in schools should be spent speaking about being an entrepreneur and why that is a noble pursuit.
  3. Professional politicians. Yeah.. this is a big one. Most of the founding fathers had businesses they continued to run while in office. The idea of a “professional” lifetime politician making his money purely from his political pursuits is relatively new. Also, military service of some type was the norm for most of our early politicians and founding fathers. Now, it is more likely that they passed the bar and started running for office.. or something similar.

I guess what I am saying is that if the founding fathers would be disappointed, my response is, “So what.” Times have changed. It is interesting to discuss what might have disappointed them and more importantly why. And then determine, what of their original ideas are still relevant and important.

Proud to be an American

I’m proud to be an American. Not because America is perfect… but because she isn’t… but our system of government allows us to make changes – positive and negative. This means that you can be proud but also take the responsibility of being active and proactive in changing the bad and accentuating the good.

And by the way, if you are proud to be a Canadian or an Englishmen, or an Iranian or a Zairian, (what are those from Zaire called?) etc. that’s great too. Be proud! Don’t be blind and proud. Be proud and proactive.

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