Sunday, February 15, 2009

Whatever Happened to the American Spirit?

I was blessed today to go sightseeing with our family and Alicia's new in-laws. We went to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (aka The Gateway Arch) and we spent some time in their great museum. There were exhibits about traveling west, about Native Americans, soldiers, and farmers. In many exhibits the true American spirit came through -- pride in the struggle to survive. There were farmers whose crops got ruined five years in a row, yet they never once went to the government requesting assistance. There was pride, often too much pride, in being able to make it through really tough times. There were stories of people who held a multitude of jobs -- farmer, door to door salesman, migrant worker, maintenance, carpentry, factory, etc. -- whatever it took. They made do with what they had and they didn't buy anything new unless they could pay for it.

Then I look at our economy today and wonder about how far we've fallen. Those folks didn't have half the luxuries we have. There were no cell phone, no air conditioners, fireplaces for furnaces, no designer jeans, no cable. And they didn't have a clue that these 'necessities' were missing from their lives.

We have a horrible storm and run out of power or even, heaven forbid, lose our homes, and we turn to find someone who must be responsible and who will take care of us. Please don't get me wrong. I don't want anyone to have to suffer and I am very sorry for folks who have lost their jobs. Illness, disaster, and layoffs happen and I wish they weren't a part of our daily life. But so many people could pull themselves out of this situation if they would just look back a few generations to their ancestors who lived through the depression and other difficult times in our history.

How would you make it if all of a sudden you had nothing tomorrow?

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