Do We Even Know How Good We Have It?

I was perched in my usual spot at home, reading a book about American WWII heroes who’d survived the Bataan Death March and managed to escape from a Japanese prison camp. A documentary was playing on the tv in the background on AHC about the Battle of the Bulge. I was having one of those moments of awe, trying to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the overwhelming sacrifice of so many Americans in our previous generations.
My wife doesn’t have a huge interest in history and she doesn’t follow closely the current state of political division and protest. But there in my moment of awe, she returned from an evening run, walking into the room and stopped, with an odd look on her face, “Karrick, we don’t know how good we have it.”
I didn’t know where she was going, but it turns out that her thoughts were in the same direction as mine. Being drafted into military service. Or seeing your children go off to fight in a foreign land to preserve our own freedom or to fight in conflicts with questionable motives or strategic value. The terrible horrors of war experienced by men, women, and families past and present.
Many bravely serve today, not by compulsion, but from a level of courage and a will to defend our nation that few of us possess. For those who served, past and present, I am……..I struggle to find the right word…..”I don’t know how lucky I have it.”  
Looking at those poor souls in impoverished nations lacking food, shelter, clean water………and freedom.  I don’t know how lucky I have it.
I think too many of us don’t know how lucky we have it. I’m not trying to start a “kneel for the National Anthem debate”, but I will start a discussion about respect and being misguided. For those who say, “you can’t force someone to respect the flag”, you’re right.  Respect is earned, not demanded.  But I sure do wish that more people could have a truer understanding of just how they came to possess those precious rights that they love to talk about. To respect the flag is to respect those who’ve preserved its existence. This is a case where that respect HAS most definitely been earned. It’s sad that some people’s perception of our country prevents them from grasping that.
“I don’t respect a country that_________”  That’s laced in the heaviest doses of misguidance and convicts innocent bystanders.  Unfortunately, some simply choose to disrespect a country that’s made up of imperfect people.  Want to make a change?  Look in the mirror and start with yourself.  Me, you, everybody.
If everyone had a better grasp of the truth, wouldn’t they be inspired to stand?  Wouldn’t they give thanks for freedom and opportunity?  Why is there an obsession with inequality of results by comparing ourselves to others, while we intentionally ignore comparisons of life in the USA to a life of true poverty and oppression that so much of the world suffers through?  We don’t have an equal chance of being a part of the Wal-Mart Walton family.  But we do have a chance to make a living.  We have freedom. 
We have freedom to choose.  And freedom to succeed or fail.  The freedom to be takers or givers.  Too many people are deceiving others toward being takers.  We need more givers.  Giving of themselves out of love instead of crying about injustice and demanding change and sacrifice from others.  Evil and injustice won’t go away.  But it can be overcome.  The underlying message of protest culture is that “life should be fair”.  Overcoming injustice can’t be achieved by waving protest signs or fighting battles that have already been fought and won.  It’s an invisible enemy that only seeks to bring glory to the masters of the grievance industry. 
People’s life situations and personal experiences have a great impact on their perception of the world around them. And we certainly have plenty of folks that do have it rough. Sure, I get that. But shame on all those who continue to misconstrue the facts and lead people into a mentality of helplessness, blame, and victimhood. Maybe the real problem isn’t that people reach the point where they seem to hate the country.  Maybe the real problem is all the buffoons that carry out a mission of telling others how awful our country is.  They seem to believe that telling others how bad they have it and are getting screwed is some sort of accomplishment. 
For all the protests that are plastered across the news feeds every day, I honestly can’t grasp what they’re protesting, other than the imperfection of others and unequal results. Equal opportunity does not guarantee that we all have the same chance of achieving predetermined levels of economic status. But we do have equal levels of freedom. Shame on those who diminish just how far our country has come in matters of equal rights.  And shame on those who have intentionally painted a picture where 2017 has suddenly reverted to 1957 in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, or economic opportunities for all.  For the marginalized people of our society, don’t the heaping doses of “understanding”, in the absence of hard truths, ensure that a culture of blame a powerlessness gets worse instead of better?
Masters of the grievance industry and social justice warriors lie and stir division, and present themselves as champions of equality, arriving to save the day. “Hey, you’re getting the shaft and I’m on your side”.  How worthless is that?
We do have laws in place guaranteeing that we all have an opportunity and that no one is held back. Unfortunately, anyone who encourages others to embrace personal responsibility, look at the man in the mirror, or pull yourself up by your bootstraps…….well, any good social justice warrior knows that is just victim blaming.  Truth is suppressed.  Instead, they just embrace the use of catchy phrases like mansplaining, white privilege, systematic racism, wage gap, etc. and that let’s everyone know how compassionate they are and shame dissenters. (I think they call that “virtue signalling).
That’s a worthless avenue to pursue. If there are laws that need to be changed, name them and let’s change them. They can’t. Not to sound unsympathetic to the true struggles of others, but the truth and its useful nature doesn’t always deliver sympathy and “feel good” feelings in the here and now. For the flag kneelers and protesters, it doesn’t bother me most that you kneel or protest. I don’t walk in your shoes or see life through your eyes.  It bothers me most that someone has convinced you to hold yourself back, and that you’re listening to them. You’re willfully shifting power to others and diminishing your own opportunities.
When we have those “national conversations” about ongoing problems, we’re not really pursuing solutions when we’re only speaking half of the truths.  But that’s what it’s come down to.
The narrative (determined by current rules of political correctness) says that whites, men, and American business are responsible for 100% of the problems (amazingly, the marginalized fail to grasp the idea that politicians efforts to “help” are the cause of many woes??).  And that creates an odd situation where we become responsible for 100% of the solution.  Isn’t that a bit silly?  I guess that would depend on how we learn to accept and interpret truths.  I guess that depends on how much thought we give to what it truly means to have power and if we’re willing to always dump the responsibility for change onto others.
You may have it better than me.  And I may have it better than the next guy.  But we all have the power to change our situation.  And there’s a good chance that none of us truly know how good we’ve got it.

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