TO MY GRANDCHILDREN: BE PROUD
Prior to our preemptive incursion into Iraq, I overheard my teenage grandchildren spouting multiculturalism nonsense they had been taught in school. I wrote them the following letter as part of an attempt to overcome this brainwashing. It provided the starting point to what has now developed into a weblog called "From Sea to Shining Sea" that I launched one year ago. I have decided to republish this piece each year in July.
To My Grandchildren: Be Proud
To someone my age, grandchildren are terribly important because they represent the future. I’m writing this because I want to make sure that my grandchildren understand some things that will be very important to their future – and to their children's future.
Any American who studies history – whether ancient history or recent history – should realize two major lessons from history: Lesson 1. You and I and the ordinary working person in this country have a quality of life that in most of the world has been available only to a very few, extremely wealthy persons of royalty. Of the billions of people born since the world began, almost everyone has lived wretched, short lives of incredible poverty and despair. This widespread quality of life you and I have is of recent origin and came about because of the unique qualities of American civilization – freedom, capitalism and inventiveness.
Lesson 2. Every great civilization – the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Spaniards, the Turks and others – every one of them has eventually disintegrated or disappeared. Today we live during the great American civilization. Will it also disappear?
Sometimes great civilizations ended because of military defeats, but more often, they ended because of internal decay. You might say that they committed suicide. During your lifetime you will encounter many people who are mentally conflicted in some way. Some are criminals who will hurt you if you let them. It’s pretty easy to stay out of their way. But some are conflicted in more subtle and devious ways. They don’t understand history. They don’t understand that American freedoms and American traditions and the bloodshed of American patriots not only provided the wonderful life we have – but have offered hope to all the rest of the world. These people are Americans, but inexplicably they hate America.
Yes we have made mistakes, and sometimes we have been forced to choose the lesser of two evils, but unlike every other civilization, America has always tried to help. After we won World War II, the most terrible war in history, we offered a hand of friendship to our enemies. Instead of ransacking their countries, as all previous victors throughout history had done, we helped them to rebuild and taught them how to live in freedom. However, these people who have this kind of problem don’t see this; they only see the mistakes we have made. They are like some people who, if you give them a rose, will only see the thorns. The problem is, these Americans with this kind of outlook, may be the ones who destroy our civilization – if we let them.
Who are these people? Back in the 1970’s a Senator, Senator Church who headed an important committee and who for some reason hated the CIA so much he not only persuaded the Congress to weaken the CIA (possibly why the 9/11 attacks succeeded), but he published the names and addresses of CIA agents around the world. This is very personal for me because a near classmate at my high school in Providence, RI, the CIA Station Chief in Athens, Greece, Richard Welch, was murdered shortly thereafter on the front steps of his home. Also during the 1970’s a man named Daniel Ellsberg stole and published military secrets that undermined public confidence in our military at a time when American service men and women were under fire. During Desert Storm in the 1990’s two CNN TV broadcasters, Peter Arnett and Bernard Shaw, actually broadcasted from Baghdad while our men and women risked their lives. Their television programs gave information to the Iraqis and could have cost American lives.
We also have many people in our country who seem willing to undermine our society in order to make money or to further some agenda that may arise out of their form of sickness. We have movie, television, radio and music producers who constantly try to expose young people to more and more violence and near-pornography in order to increase the shock value of their products and make more money for themselves. If this wasn’t bad enough, at least it is understandable. What is not understandable is the number of people who actually believe that it’s good for us to see and hear this filth.
For all its faults, the United States of America has been and remains the source of hope and progress to the peoples of the world. American and Western culture was the first culture to ban slavery (which still goes on in parts of Africa and the Middle East), and we are the first country to go to the aid of countries that suffer disasters. We are the only country in the world where millions of people (remember little Elian Gonzalez) risk their lives every year to try to get here to live.
Since evil thrives when good people do nothing, it is up to the rest of us to fight against all these conflicted people. I hope I’ve tried during my lifetime, and I hope you will too.