Two birthdays to celebrate gladly

As Iola celebrates its 150th year, the nation turns 233 tomorrow. Two hundred and thirty-three doesn’t end in a five or zero so the anniversary will not draw too much attention. Besides, times are still tough and quite a few of us foam at the mouth at government and blame it for hard times.
That’s OK. The government that got its start 233 years ago had freedom from oppression as its goal, with self-government as the mechanism to achieve individual and collective liberty. Free speech, defined as the right to criticize government and those who run it, was guaranteed and is loudly used in every city in the land, large and small.
So, yes, it is every American’s right to say that America’s government doesn’t work and is palpably corrupt, if misinformation has so persuaded them. And there is no accompanying requirement to say what kind of government would be better. Or to ship out if things don’t shape up to suit.
Still, it is worth remembering on our nation’s birthday that the founding fathers did have federal control of the nation’s affairs in mind when they established what is now the oldest major democracy in the world and is still the most powerful, richest, most technologically advanced, most generous nation on the planet.
The United States government remains the envy of the world even though its reputation has been tarnished by the credit debacle that triggered a worldwide recession beginning in 2007; a debacle caused primarily by too little governing, not too much.
America’s dollar remains the world’s benchmark currency; America’s political and military power have kept it the world’s go-to nation when chaos threatens.
Americans have a long, long list of very good reasons to sing Happy Birthday to themselves this July 4.
Among those reasons is that the United States remains a nation in flux; a nation continually evolving as challenges pop up that can’t be met by doing what worked in the past.
Item: America created the automobile industry; America’s automobile industry collapsed; America is now building a new automobile industry designed for 2009 and beyond.
Item: Far too many Americans went through more than a decade of spending more than they earned, saving nothing, clinging to the frothy, irrational belief that they could live indefinitely on borrowed money — until they hit the wall. They then stopped spending, are saving at a record rate and rebuilding real wealth.
Item: Every year, in every way, Americans are learning to be more tolerant of each other and to embrace the magnificent diversity of our culture. Americans of all races and many cultures; all religions and no religion; many social, sexual and pschological persuasions live side by side in harmony that would astound those who first heard the Declaration of Independence read in town squares 233 years ago. The United States is more united than ever.
Item: In 2008 a solid majority of Americans elected President Barack Obama, an upbeat visionary who promised to lead the country in new directions and to find ways to meet long-standing national needs. That he happened to be an African American was another demonstration of the nation’s blooming maturity.

AMERICA IS, in short, a growing, changing, resilient nation unwilling to become a prisoner of its past, eager to become increasingly capable of meeting the expanding needs of its people, fulfilling their dreams and honoring their commitments to themselves and all mankind.
How extremely fortunate we are to be Americans. Happy birthday to us!

— Emerson Lynn, jr.