A few years ago, I wrote a letter to Lady Liberty. The world was a tad different then. Donald Trump was being his arrogant self in the west wing. Joe Biden was out of office and many of us were hoping retired and the United States was enjoying gas prices well under $3 – and on their way to under $2.
To be fair, I didn’t expect her to answer, and she did not. Then again, if I was a proud 240+ years old, I wouldn’t respond to every Tim, Dick and Harry either.
So with another Independence Day just days away, I’m sending her another letter. If you’d like me to add your name to the bottom, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll gladly do it.
Dear Lady Liberty,
Please allow me to wish you another most happy birthday! Long may your flag wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Before all the festivities start in earnest this weekend, if I may, I’d like to ask you just one more question. You certainly don’t have to answer. I’ve asked before, but haven’t really gotten an answer yet.
Why does the mere mention of a word cause the shields and weapons to be raised? What word? Take your pick – socialism, abortion, gays, trans, guns, Trump, borders, walls, right, left . . .
Thing is, we don’t just argue any more. We hate. You’ve seen it all, but my memory only goes back a few decades. I don’t recall hate like this since the 1960s when young’uns were told not to trust anyone under 30, burn their draft card and those of the opposite sex (you know, back when we only had two) were told to torch their bras.
None of that generated warm and fuzzys with the age group I’m honored to be part of now. And when Mssrs. Crosby, Stills and Nash sang about four dead in O-Hi-O, things went from bad to worse.
Back then we had a man in the White House we didn’t like or trust very much and families found themselves on opposite sides . . . you know, pretty much like now.
We got through it though.
I’ll admit I’m not the smartest guy in the room (even when it’s a pretty small room), but I surely don’t understand why we’ve become so angry again.
People are fighting about the right to kill an unborn baby while ignoring any rights said baby might have. Democrats are telling us that the economy is great . . . which sort of feels like Ol’ Blue peeing down the side of my leg while his owner tells me it’s raining. Republicans aren’t helping either. Instead of taking the high road and giving the country real reasons to consider this so-called red wave in the next election, they’re rolling around in the mud, ripping the Dems every chance they get. In the process they’re showing us that no matter which party is in charge they all have the uncanny knack to make us hate politicians.
Our ability to have meaningful conversations that start and end peacefully is farther gone than the dinosaurs and 99 cent gas.
I don’t understand any of it. I don’t know how anyone expects a government that can’t seem to get anything right to suddenly be competent enough to manage healthcare. I don’t know why we trust politicians who get rich off our backs to suddenly look out for the middle class.
It’s why the folks clamoring for socialism make me smile. They think the same politicians who got them into this mess can wave a magic wand and get them out. It’s hard to believe in much of anything with the government any more.
All I know is that I believe in you.
Please allow me to repeat what I’ve said for a while. We’re a nation of knuckleheads. We always have been. When Betsy Ross and her pals were busy sewing flags, some yahoos were drinking ale and touting the benefits of staying loyal to King George. We turned brother against brother in a terrible war that got mislabeled civil. Radicalism, just another word for the same sort of thing AOC and the squad are touting now, gave Woody Wilson and his cabinet one headache after another. FDR crafted more social programs than anyone, but had to fight a war. And Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon led our nation when troops, tanks and bigotry rolled through the streets.
We’ve always been angry, often times paying a heavy price for it. Yet we’ve managed to survive a lot of different opinions, a bunch of hatred and all sorts of messes. Perhaps that should provide some comfort. After all, we made it this far, right?
You’ve given us a lot, Ma’am.
OK, that was my question – but while I have you I’ll share a concern I’m hoping you can help with. It seems to me that this only works so long as the majority of us keep giving you our faith and our allegiance – two things that feel like they’re in mighty short supply once again. I’m hoping you can tell us how to maintain those. I hope you can help us remember the lives lost and the sacrifices made to get where we are today. Maybe if you can do that, then perhaps we can get back to honest conversations without all the hate.
That’s it ma’am. Thanks for listening and I really do hope you have a great birthday, and many, many more! God bless!
– Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Thursdays in The Times. Timmons is the chief executive officer of Sagamore News Media, the company that owns The Noblesville Times. He is also a proud Noblesville High School graduate and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.