03 February 2009

After The Party's Over...
Another Super (?) Bowl done for another year...and with it all the hype, the ads, the money made by people OTHER than yourselves.
So what's next, you ask?
Well, March Madness looms on the sports horizon.
And we have the Daytona 500, the official "kickoff" to the NASCAR season beginning soon enough.
I mean, SOMEONE has to get our minds off the economy...and terrorism, and global warming (Punxsy Phill took care of that nicely yesterday, I might add), and the other 539 things that seemingly affect each and every one of us, right?
We, as Americans HAVE to be entertained.
We live for it, in fact.
Funny...wasn't always that way.
(Uh oh...I'm waxing a bit philosophical today...)
I never read where the Constitution GUARANTEED or imbued every one of us with a God-given RIGHT to be entertained, or even to be happy.
I DO recall something that stated we were granted certain inalienable rights, such as LIFE, LIBERTY, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
So we were free to pretty much "go for it" as it were...didn't say anything about us GETTING any, did it?
There was a saying that went something like this:"The conquest is not as fulfilling as the chase".
And that can be said for MANY things in life.
Striving for something is what motivates us, urges us into action. It challenges us, forces us to "dig a little deeper" inside ourselves to find whatever it is we need at that time to accomplish whatever we set out to do in the first place.
And many times, we might fail in the process.
To a lot of us, failure is a good thing.
We LEARN from the experience...we become better individuals from that failure.
But when we decide to allow a failure to dominate our existence, we walk the path to the "dark side of the Force", as it were.
We basically become losers.
So we press on, putting the failure behind us, making sure we don't repeat it.
I've always said that I don't make the same mistake twice...but there are a LOT of mistakes I haven't even come across yet (and some I never hope to). It's just the nature of the beast...being human, that is. And unfortunately, we're all stuck with that moniker; Being HUMAN.
In some extraordinary instances, failure is simply NOT an option (case in point: Apollo 13). You fail - you die.
Yeah, it's that simple.
Talk about something that WILL "motivate" you!
All too often, we set a goal, achieve it, and then rest on our laurels.
That's not the best way to go, unless what you achieved netted you untold wealth, power, and everything else this world has to offer.
For some, even that is not the end of the line.
They look for the next challenge and how their power & wealth can benefit OTHERS, for no other reason than they CAN do it.
We call that being a philanthropist, or an entrepreneur.
These people pass along their knowledge and skills to others, that those who glean from the (more) fortunate, might "score one for the home team".
But those people are the (very) fortunate few.
The rest of us have to carry on, man up to whatever task is at hand, put our shoulder to the wheel, and press on.
Now I said ALL THAT to say THIS:
Every one of us is facing some VERY tough economic times...make no mistake. For those of us fortunate enough to hear stories from the Great Depression, we get an idea of what "could" happen.
And we'd be fools to not heed what we hear.
We can do what "we" need to do, as American citizens to ensure our individual financial stability, but there are other players in the mix now, as opposed to the 1930s. We have government trying to infuse itself into MORE of our lives, making us totally dependent on THEM, when we should realize that WE are our FIRST, BEST defense for any "wolf at the door".
Instead, we have every Tom, Dick, and Harriet with his or her hand out for...something for nothing.
Did massive giveaways see our nation into and through the Industrial Revolution?
Did massive giveaways see us through this nation's BIRTH?
Did massive giveaways help us through our Civil War?
Did massive giveaways guide us through TWO World Wars?
I don't recall anything like that happening...do you?
We had something money couldn't buy...called American SPIRIT.
It was what helped found this nation, established our Constitution, paved the way for exploration and expansion, and made this nation great.
The weird thing is...I still believe in that.
It was all those plain old Americans (from whatever nation they left behind) that decided that THIS was the land of OPPORTUNITY.
Nothing was guaranteed to them as they sailed here from everywhere else.
Nothing was "given" to them to get them established.
Nothing was assured them if they were not willing to chase after it...to PURSUE it.
It was through perseverance, hard work, persistence, and a firm belief in THIS nation that allowed these people to long for (and in many cases, actually achieve) the American Dream. They sacrificed, they died, and they still were not deterred. They learned from whatever failure smacked them in the kisser...and were still not deterred.
Yeah, this all sounds well and good, but it's different now.
Really? In what way?
Well, perhaps we've forgotten all about that AMERICAN SPIRIT...
We were too busy watching "the game", or texting (or even "sexting") someone, or getting high, drunk and/or stupid to see it, or even attempt to get off our asses, do what our forefathers did, get this nation back on track, and "make it happen".
We, as a nation made it through one big economic struggle (and several smaller ones), and we will make it through this one, although I admit that unless we return to being driven more by ETHICS and less by ENTERTAINMENT, this NATION will change in ways we cannot possibly imagine.
Failure (for this country) should not be the ONLY option available. America has to re-learn how to avert failure, or at the least LEARN from that failure in order to succeed. History is lousy with examples, if we want to review for the financial "pop-quiz" we're ALL getting ready to take.
We might wind up no longer being the America we once knew...
And I, for one, would really hate for that to be OUR legacy for future generations.
I apologize about any "soapbox" rhetoric.
I just think this nation's leadership needs to take a GOOD look at the U.S. Constitution.
Read the words of the Bill of Rights, and the Preamble...slowly, and with purpose.
And then THINK long and hard about what those words truly MEAN...to this nation's PEOPLE.
Stay safe and warm out there.

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