Monday, May 01, 2006

Making Hay in America

Received from my friend Sunshine: If you would care to take a spin around the field driving the old tractor, weather permitting (we need a forecast of a week without rain), stop by the field late morning or early afternoon Monday, May 1 (mowing) or Friday, May 5 (raking.) Pass the word. Just imagine, here we are just 12 miles South of Los Angeles International (LAX) and 22 miles South of Hollywood, and we have the opportunity to ride horses down the streets and mow the hayfields with a 1959 John Deere tractor. Life is good in Palos Verdes.

And life is good in America. Hundreds of thousands of legal and illegal immigrants took to the streets today, not to protest against injustice, but to exclaim the greatness of the country they risked everything to enter. Who can blame them for wanting to stay here? Like in Mexico, the migrant thousands here are led by corrupt and clueless politicos who would have them demand “rights” from a country that owes them nothing. But because this is America, we will find a way to make it right. We always do.

And life is good in the world because of America. We are the greatest and most virtuous power in history. For a century the work of freedom and global security has been handled by America and its great British ally. Indeed Europe has never lived so safely or so well as since the Second World War under Pax Americana.

America is the most revolutionary state and culture in history. After our revolution of independence, America pioneered human revolutions in women’s emancipation, racial equality, religious tolerance, individual ownership, economic efficiency, information, knowledge and others.
The 21st Century will be the American Century, when we move beyond the poisonous divisions created by the European empires and build a genuine new world order based on freedom and human rights. But we do have enemies, old and new, who hate us for our success, our freedom, and our power as well as for the global transformations we inspire. [The thoughts in this paragraph were extracted from a wonderful new book by Ralph Peters called New Glory, of which I shall have much more to say in future posts.]

The ability of America to secure the safety and emancipation of the world rests with our military. Churchill once said: “We live in an age of great events and little men.” I say: We live in an age of great events and great men and women, the men and women of our military forces.

I’ll close with a little piece sent by my good friend Gene. It’s called “The Recruit.”

Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are too. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled. I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 A.M. but I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay, practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again. It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on "route marches," which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A "route march" is about as far asto our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The Captain is like the school board. Majors and Colonels just ride around and frown. They don't bother you none. This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy. It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home. I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6" and 130 pounds and he's 6'8" and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are the greatest and most virtuous power in history" It is precisely this kind of hubris that will be our downfall. Bill, cease with these foolish statements! It's unfortunate that there are those in power who truly believe this conceit, and it's costing us in blood and treasure. That will change soon, and with it, maybe we can return recapture some of our humility.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand Anony.... If he doesn't think we are the greatest and most virtuous power in history then who does he think is and why doesn't he live there???


8:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

He is a lefty who thinks we are no better than any other country. That crowd loved the Soviet Union and thought Castro and Mao were noble.

Pride in America can never amount to "hubris" since it can never be excessive. Those like Anony who think otherwise should do us all a favor and leave. And take Gore and Gere, Sarandon and Moore with them.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pride in America can never amount to "hubris" since it can never be excessive....again, pride can never be excessive? Bill, you've really lost it if you believe that way. Pride is a sin, is it not? And do I think America is a terrible nation? Of course not, I love my country, but I harbor no illusions about it's ability to make mistakes. No one and no country is is when people who claim to be patriots think that their country can do no wrong that we lose our ability to think critically about what we do in the world. And where was it you wanted me to live Carolynne? There? Actually, I was over "there" in Baghdad trying to save the life of an Iraqi 2 year old who had been shot in the abdomen at a military checkpoint. Is this what virtuous and powerful nations do? Think about it.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, He's right. Your arrogance and ignorance are a lethal combination and represent all that's worst about America. Unfortunately this side of us is precisely what the rest of the world sees.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"We are the greatest and most virtuous power in history".........

Some might see a conflict when they read this:

GENEVA (May 3) - Torture and inhumane treatment are "widespread" in U.S.-run detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere despite Washington's denials, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs xvi 18

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...

I'm sorry that you seem to view our great country through your minds eye that retains the horrors of a war. All great civilizations have had to use war as a necessary evil.
Carolynne's question still stands.

If we are not the greatest and most virtuous power in history, then what country is (or was)?
What country has been more benevolent to all mankind? What country's citizens spend countless months/years on peaceful missions across the globe?


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we are not the greatest and most virtuous power in history, then what country is (or was)?"


10:20 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

Now isn't this a silly, adolescent kind of question:

"If we are not the greatest and most virtuous power in history, then what country is (or was)?"

"Greatest"? "Most virtuous"? Give me a break. There is no scale you can put these kinds terms on, weigh them up, and print out the result. Personally, I blame this kind of shallow, feel good exercise on the sports mania gripping this green (but going fast) and gracious (going even faster) land of ours. We mass together in arenas or alone in front of the TV and chant the prayer/hope: "We're number one." until we hypnotize ourselves into believing it, and even more importantly, believing that it matters.

I do like the "Rome" answer, however. It reminds me of what kept the toga boys going--bread and circuses for so long. Well, in the U.S. today, the "bread" isn't finding its way to the cupboards like it used to, but the "circuses" are going strong.

10:17 AM  

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