I’ll admit I’m in a mood. I watched a video yesterday that really stuck with me. I put it up on The Reader under “That’s not Funny.” You can check it out but it shows high school kids who know absolutely nothing about their state, their country, or their history. Nothing. It’s painful to watch. And what makes it all worse is that the whole time, they’re all laughing and giggling about their own ignorance.
I wasn’t laughing. Here we are. The most advanced and prosperous civilization the world has ever seen and it’s like we’re all just assuming it’s always been like this and always will be. We’ve forgotten that this wonderful lifestyle we lead isn’t a given. Freedom isn’t a given. We’ve gotten to this wonderful place and we’ve torn up the map how to get here. Many of the people who educate our children don’t believe in the Constitution. They don’t believe that the values that built this society are anything special. And we’ve left them in charge of our children. So how can we be shocked when our children know nothing of the uniqueness of our country when their teachers don’t believe there’s anything unique about it.
And most children aren’t being taught about it at home. In many families, both Mom and Dad work long hours and have little time for the kids. In others, the father has just completely taken off if he was ever there at all. Fatherlessness is epidemic in our society. I saw recently that over 50% of births to women under 30 were out of wedlock. Over 50%! Yet we all know that kids do better in married households statistically. We know that families are the building block of this most advanced and prosperous society to ever exist. So what do we do? We monkey with marriage. We hollow it out. And then we allow it’s meaning to be expanded into meaninglessness. The moment ’til death do us part’ became a punchline, everything went to Hell. It just took a little time. But it’s still suicide when it’s in slow motion.
We have this awful weirdness right now in that we absolutely distrust our government yet every time we vote, we vote our government more power. You can’t see a movie that mentions the CIA in a positive light. Look at the Bourne movies. Look at the most recent movie “Safe House.” Television shows too like “Person of Interest.” They all start with the assumption that the U.S. government is corrupt. It’s the given in our culture nowadays. Look at any polling. We distrust the government. But we vote to give them more power over us. That kind of disconnect I just don’t get.
This country was built upon the Christian concept of the sacredness of the individual life. Yet we discard Christianity and ban it from our schools. Government effectively hounds religion out of the rest of the country. But the moment that Christianity goes, so does the sacredness of individual life. But the enemies of Christianity don’t have anything to replace it with. People somehow believe that nothing or nobody will fill that vacuum with a new morality where the individual can be seen as a threat?
I remember when my wife and I were looking to buy a house many years ago. We thought we found a nice one on a beautiful little street. We were so excited that we were already imagining our children playing in the back yard. We brought my wife’s uncle over to see it because he knows about such things. He has a good eye for spotting problems. He walked through it and he spoke all nice to the realtor but when he got outside to us he told us to run away from that house. He told us it’s dry rotting from the inside. He said it still looked solid but there were cracks in the foundation, termite damage hollowing out the walls, and the basement floor was buckled. He said it still looked pretty if you weren’t looking real careful but it had been neglected by the owners for a long time. I hadn’t seen any of that because I wanted that house. I wanted to believe everything was all right. I wanted to have the life I imagined. But it wouldn’t be possible there. It was too damaged. We had to go elsewhere.
I don’t have a great eye for seeing the damage like some others do. But I’m getting the sense that this country has been damaged the past few decades. The foundation is cracked and the building blocks are dry rotted. I don’t know if there’s any fixing it. I hope so. Because I’m not sure there’s any place to go.