Bob Tamasy: A Day To Celebrate – Or Not?

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Independence Day can’t get here soon enough. The United States needs a patriotic booster shot. Lee Greenwood’s ”Proud to Be an American” might be suffering from embarrassment. We need to soak up some “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and other festive marches, and stirring fireworks shows. It’s time to get good ole American bounce back in our step.

I’ve long considered myself a patriot. I attribute that in part to having been born on July 4, while my dad was serving in the U.S. Army. Yep, I’m one of those Yankee doodle dandies – although my degree of “dandiness” is up for debate. 

To this day spotting an American flag waving in the breeze makes me smile. On football Saturdays I bleed Scarlet and Gray, but all other days I’m a red, white and blueblood. Annually on Independence Day I’ve been all-in. Flag T-shirts, patriotic concerts, pyrotechnics, the whole shebang – and boom. Not only because it’s my birthday (I won’t tell how many I’ve had), but because I’ve always felt the United States was unique, unlike any other nation in history.

But lately American pride has taken a beating. Kind of like an American flag I spotted many years ago, unfurled in the front yard of a private residence in Ohio. It was flying in shreds. “Old Glory” had known better days at that home. Being the stalwart patriot I was even then, I photographed the tattered banner and published the image in the local newspaper I was editing. The accompanying caption suggested no flag should be displayed in such condition. (The homeowner, while unnamed, still was not pleased with such attention.) 

I’m thinking the image of our nation finds itself in similar tatters these days. It’s not just attitudes toward the United States around the world. It’s the values, the culture of our country – what it was, and what it’s become. I’m a traditionalist, and while I appreciate the great strides we’ve made in overcoming racism and discrimination of many kinds, we’ve forgotten the distinctions between rights and privileges, liberty and license, freedom and foolishness.

This wondrous “land of opportunity” is turning into the “land of entitlement.” The grit and determination that forged our national work ethic have taken a hit, disintegrating into belief that people “deserve” certain wages regardless of respective levels of responsibility, initiative and authority. Burger flippers are demanding almost as much compensation as nurses and teachers. 

Political and ideological divides besetting the U.S.A. threaten to make us more “untied” than “United.” Factions insist there’s only one way these days, “our way.” Rather than a citizenry pulling together to secure and safeguard common ground, everyone nurses agendas, intent on foisting them on everyone else.

Historical revisionists will howl and argue to the contrary, but faith was vital to the fabric of our nation for most of its existence. Today, faith has become anathema for many people despite having benefited from principles and values championed by our Judeo-Christian heritage. 

Recently I was reminded of a statement credited to historian Alexander Tyler, although others attribute it to Alexander Fraser Tytler. Who knows? But it’s worth reading nevertheless:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. 

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations, from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;

From spiritual faith to great courage;

From courage to liberty;

From liberty to abundance;

From abundance to complacency;

From complacency to apathy;

From apathy to dependence;

From dependence back into bondage."

Hopefully the United States can escape this dismal cycle. But in any event, it heartens me to know that although I swell with American pride without apology, my true citizenry lies elsewhere. The Bible offers these perspectives:

“We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope” (1 Chronicles 29:15).

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world…” (1 Peter 2:11). 

The Scriptures declare all Christ followers are “aliens and strangers” in this world, eagerly awaiting the world and life to come. That, regardless of whether the U.S. of A. still deserves being called the United States, is where my hope lies. 

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


Middle Valley Church Of God Hosts Chili Cook-Off This Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God will host a Chili Cook-Off this  Sunday,  beginning at  6:30 p.m.   This annual event is designed to raise funds for the church's Cusuna, Honduras Missions Project.  Middle Valley COG works with other churches to provide a feeding center, medical clinic, and churches for orphans and widows in Cusuna.  This Honduran ... (click for more)

"Let's Get Better Together" Is Sunday's Topic At Middle Valley

Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, 'Let's Get Better Together'  in the  10:30 a.m.  service this  Sunday.   This is part of a new sermon series titled 'Loving, Accepting, And Forgiving Will Work.'  This series of sermons will focus on the need of all Christians to examine relationships and discover ways in which they ... (click for more)

Underground Fire Closes Several Downtown Streets

An underground fire closed severqal downtown streets late Sunday afternoon. At approximately 5:20 p.m.,  t he Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a reported fire in a man-hole at the corner of Chestnut Street and W. 8th Street. When fire companies arrived on the scene, they  found black smoke coming from an underground electrical service line.  The ... (click for more)

16-Year-Old Who Was Shot In The Head In East Ridge Dies

 Monserrate Ferrer, the 16 year old who  was shot in East Ridge on Friday , has died. Investigators will meet early next week with the Hamilton County District  Attorney's Office to discuss the case. The shooting that involved two juveniles was at the 4200 block of Bennett Road. Responding officers found a 16-year-old boy in the bedroom with a single ... (click for more)

Donna Horn: I'm Not A Good Ole Boy

Roy Exum continues to reload his poisonous pen.  Yesterday he wrote some untruths about me and some of the other board members that just happen to be educators as well.   For the record, one cannot run for school board if one is a teacher at the time of the election.   He said that I was still teaching when I was on the school board-not possible.  I retired in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote ‘No’ On Vouchers

I fully believe that public education in Hamilton County is the single most important opportunity that challenges us today. Over the weekend the new website for the ‘Chattanooga 2.0’ initiative went up and every parent who has a child in our public system should make it “required reading.” You can find it at www.chatt2.org. Please sign up for updates because a lot of us need to ... (click for more)