Mr Beck, This is How We’ve Changed

Anyone who’s been watching Glenn Beck lately has seen him ask the same question over and over again… How are we changing? On July 29th, 2009, Beck wrote the following:

And the fourth thing I’d like to get across today is, remember your traditions and heritage. One of the most shocking things said during the course of the presidential campaign last year came from Michelle Obama. During a campaign stop, she said, “…And Barack knows that we are going to have to make sacrifices, we’re going to have to change our conversation, we’re going to have to change our traditions, our history, we’re going to have to move into a different place.” First of all, one can’t change one’s history. Oh, you can re-write it, certainly, to make it a lie, but that doesn’t change it. Secondly, I don’t want to change our traditions and history! It is our traditions and history that make us who we are…we are AMERICANS! And we will fight to stay AMERICANS!

Well Glenn, I think I can pin it down for you. We were the people who would fight an extraordinary bloody civil war to end slavery back in the 1860s. We were the people who would fight not one but two world wars to save Europe. Under the guidance and inspiration of JFK, we fought to stop the spread of Communism, a “system of government” that is easily responsible for the slaughter of at least 100,000,000 people. Who we were Mr. Beck, was epitomized at Gettysburg, Omaha Beach, and the following from JFK in 1960…

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

But just yesterday, President Obama eloquently described this change:

“Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions. And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident — and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.”

Simply put, we are not Americans anymore, Glenn. Just walk through any food court in any mall in America and listen to the young people. Turn on the TV on any Saturday afternoon and surf the channels. (Are lawyers the only ones who advertise anymore?) Look at the magazines, the video games, the sports heroes.

We have traded the noble and wise American sentiment of JFK and those who came before him for the foolish, slick, and shallow Barack Obama and his co-horts. In short, today we are a culture that will simply ignore the success of Post-WWII Italy, Japan, and Germany, and will instead posture dangerous, selfish, agenda-blind, utter nonsense about the limits of democracy in the very U.N. shadows of beasts like Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi, and Chavez.

Who hired these clowns Mr. Beck? Who hired Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and Dodd? Oh yeah… We did–and in a decisive manner.

Perhaps we can change back for the good, Glenn. Perhaps we can go back, and keep the added good that we fought so hard for along the way. But I have my doubts. Not so long as we stare agog at car chases on national news, take mischievous delight in beating jury duty, and are so hollow as a culture as to tolerate the fact that one in four teens get STDs without even so much as a collective whimper. I’m not holding my breath.

There’s your answer, Mr. Beck… The fault and “change” lie not in our political stars, but in ourselves.

Alan Speakman

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7 Responses to Mr Beck, This is How We’ve Changed

  1. gopcounterculture says:

    Maybe people do need a shock—like the frog in boiling water stunt Glenn attempted—to become patriots again. If the current goings on aren’t enough, than what?

  2. Aaron Dodge says:

    Mr. Speakman:

    I take offense to your abject dismissal of Americans today. Sure, walk through the food courts if you like. While you’re at it, why not take a walk through the slums and maybe hit a couple of methadone clinics while you’re at it. The people you find in those places may back your vision of who we are. However that ignores several imporant pieces of information.

    1.) Back in the era of WWI and WWII, that “Great America” you refer to also had its share of losers and ne’er-do-wells. The history books choose to write about the heroes and patriots (as well they should). Seek and ye shall find.

    2.) Back in the era of WWI and WWII, they didn’t have all the distractions we have today. My guess is if they had had Nintendo, big-screen TVs and all the cultural variety we have today, you would have seen a similar result. I truly think it’s more about distraction than character. As a society, we all share some of that blame. But when push comes to shove, the core values aren’t all that different between generations. How else do you explain the fact that 8 years after the attack of 9/11, this country still operates under an all volunteer service and does not rely on a draft?

    3.) Today’s America also has a number of dedicated, patriotic members who would gladly stand proud in defense of liberty. Who do you think is inside those American Military uniforms in Iraq and Afghanistan? How are THEY less dedicated than their grandparents?

    4.) Finally: I don’t see that much difference in the two speeches between Kennedy and Obama (and trust me when I tell you I am definitely NOT an Obama supporter). Kennedy says: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    I translate that as to be saying, “America will not back down from its chosen form of government and will assist others who choose to emulate us in their own quest for democracy if they so choose. And anyone who tries to go against us (or others) is in for a very very rude awakening.”

    Obama, is attempting to sound just as dynamic, but seems to require 4 times the verbage (I think he’s more concerned with how many times he can be interrupted for applause). But when he says,
    “Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect” he is saying that we do not have the right to force democracy down a country’s throat any more than Russia has a right to force communism down that same throat. And yes, many Muslim countries would see democracy as being something they don’t want because it conflicts with centuries of their tradition which may just be more important to them. While SOME in their society might wish for freedom, it is not our responsibility to enter their sovereign country and initiate the change. Nobody initiated OUR change here in America but ourselves Had someone handed it to us, it never would have achieved the level of cherished it enjoys today.

    Obama continues: “Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions. And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it.” I think he’s gone off-course a bit here, but what I think he’s trying to say is Nations should choose their own path (and will). Those who consider democracy need only look at America’s past to see how selective we’ve been in supporting those nations trying to emerge from their current form of government. America HAS, in the past, seemed to rush to help those who have more to offer us (oil, geographic advantage etc.) than those who don’t (most African nations). Obama’s just admitting that we have too often used that criteria for selecting who to back and who to ignore. Though they weren’t a country, per se, don’t forget that in WWII the US turned it’s back on a ship filled with Jews as they fled Nazi Germany and thought they’d find a safe haven here in America. We were horribly selective when Rwanda called upon us to help save them from a government bent on slaughtering them. I hate to say it, but in cases like this, Obama was dead right.

    Obama finishes with: “There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident — and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.”

    Sounds like he’s echoing Kennedy’s commitment to “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    Sometimes the choice of people with the right to choose may not be democracy. Still if it’s their choice, who are we to stand in their way as long as that choice doesn’t threaten our mutual coexistence?

    I’m not happy with Obama. I’m hungry to replace him before his naivite hurtles us under our own tracks. But I don’t think I see US civiliana as the rubes you portray us as.

  3. Bob says:

    LGF really sucks now… Too bad….

    • Hi Aaron,

      First off, thank you for your comment and readership.

      If the following seems a bit disjointed, I apologize… I tend to make quick notes as I read through comments, and then type those comments in…

      1.) Concerning food courts vs. slums and methadone clinics… The former contains mainstream America, the latter, the marginalized and the less fortunate. My point was that main stream America has changed, and for the most part not for the better.
      2.) I agree about folks of any generation if dropped into our culture would pretty end up like we are now…Absolutely! That was my point – our culture has changed. And you raise the issue of the draft… Thank you… That is a perfect example of my stand. The reason we don’t have a draft is that even after 9/11, this country would have a kitten if we tried to enforce a draft…
      3.) No question about our military. Superb people. I know from the inside. Unfortunately, they are the exception and not the rule in our society, and that exception becomes more pointed by the day.
      4.) This one reeks of what has happened to us… It’s called moral relativism… The idea that we can have core absolute rights and wrongs, and other countries can have conflicting yet equally valid core absolute rights and wrongs… And we as a culture can somehow embrace the dichotomy as some sort of sameness. Sorry, that’s why JFK plopped us in Viet Nam, and pushed us to the brink of disaster in the Cuban Missle Crisis. Communism was wrong, and in being so, its perversion was threatening. (Malfunctioning societies like malfunctioning humans tend to get dangerous. Just look at Afghanistan.) But even beyond that, this country (and JFK) fought communism (or at least used to fight it) on PRINCIPLE alone. Consider the Berlin airlift.

      True, we have been selective in our sharing of the light of liberty… And all too often, that’s been a function of practicality and convenience. Shame on us… Back in the day, we were in cahoots with the likes of the Shah of Iran and later Saddam because of the very reasons you mentioned. We were trying to secure both a national oil supply and regional security and leverage. The real world can be a bitch. Consider Scotland and the Lockerbee bomber. (Seems like they sold out their values for a hell of a lot less than we did.) But right back to my point, how do you think Churchill’s generation would have stood for such a thing? Exactly.)

      The bottom line is that we’ve (America) changed. We’ve gone from a brave culture struggling with its own terrible demons but willing to shoot for the moon, to a PC culture that will tolerate almost anything and can’t even rebuild two skyscrapers in NYC. We’ve gone from the proactive but flawed to the passive and “globally correct”. Where we once begrudgingly rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Shah of Iran for the gritty reasons you mentioned, we now turn away from the PEOPLE of Iran for naive, political, agenda-blind reasons. Which is worse here Aaron, ugly practical crimes of commission, or foolish, immature crimes of omission? And what does that say about us as a culture in 2009?

      One last thing… There are absolute rights and wrongs. A very Catholic JFK understood this, as did so much of his generation, myself included. And before you turn away from that point, imagine your closest female relative being forced to live in Afghanistan five years from now. Not pretty. But our culture will turn and look away just as the hippies did with the Khmer Rouge. The Greatest Generation wouldn’t do such a thing, and therin lies all the difference. We’ve very clearly changed, and not for the better.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Alan Speakman

  4. Bob says:

    BTW, sanity and reason can be found again @ http://www.littlegreenfootballs2.com

  5. Doug says:

    The civil war was fought over taxes and proportionate representation. Slavery was an issue, but not the main issue for either side.

    In fact, Robert E. Lee was opposed to slavery but in favor of State’s Rights. Grant supported the Union but had no problem with slavery.

    Slavery is horrible, and it should have never been a part of America.

    To ignore history is to doom oneself to repeat it’s lessons.

    Secession preceded emancipation by a good lapse of time.

    The war broke out in April 1861 with an attack on Fort Sumter. Emancipation was declared in September 1862 to bankrupt the rebellious states.

    Any history majors who can recall how the war was going in September 1862? The confederates were not losing.

    Anybody know when the Mason Dixon line was established marking off the free and slave territories? Try 1787.

    The Democratic Party split over the Morrill Tarrif in 1860, which was not a slavery issue.

    Even the revisionist Wikipedia article on the Civil War accurately reports that Lincoln campaigned against the expansion of slavery, not the abolition thereof.

    The slave holding states did not secede because they couldn’t spread slavery to other states. It was all about the money, specifically taxation.

    The southern states felt they were not fairly represented in Congress. They began seceding as soon as Lincoln won the election.

    Somehow, that seems relevant today. When we have over a million folks marching on the Capitol to protest the expansion of government and excessive taxation, can we afford to ignore all the causes of the civil war any more than we can afford to write the tea party protesters off as racists?

    Was the ending of slavery in America a positive outcome of the civil war? YES. Did all southerners own slaves and support slavery? Not hardly.

    Are some people opposed to President Obama simply because of the color of his skin. Sadly, yes. Is every person who criticizes our current administration a racist? Not by a long shot.

    The civil war broke out over taxes and a perception of one portion of the country trying to dictate to another. That crowd in the video wasn’t protesting a black man as POTUS.

    Still a great rant though!

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