America turns 237, but . . .

By: Tim Timmons

Next week we’ll be waving sparklers, rocking the red, white and blue and in general partying like it’s 1999.

Except it’s not.

Things were a lot better in 1999.

I’ve been writing these Happy Birthday America columns for some time, dating back to the 1980s. For the first time in four decades, I am no longer confident in whether or not the Republic will survive. Whether it’s internal or external, we are setting ourselves up for a fall – and no one seems to care.

Before you go blaming it on Biden, hold fast. The Republicans are just as much at fault. I mean c’mon – last week they brought up the tired and now over-used line about impeachment.


Since the Democrats used it to torpedo Trump, the Republicans have been chomping at the bit to get even. Kind of feels like the cacophony from the backseat of the station wagon on the family vacation . . .

“He touched me.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”


Far too many politicians – regardless of the flavor – seem to be in this for one thing . . . themselves. And the country, full of people asking what their country can do for them, rather than what they can do for their country, doesn’t give a tinker’s dam. We’re too busy debating why grown men can parade around in dresses, why guns are the problem instead of the idiots pulling the triggers and how the woke culture is giving the common sense crowd nightmares.

You’ve all heard this story. Ben Franklin comes waltzing out of the convention and is asked whether we have a republic or a monarchy – to which Gentle Ben says “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Hate to tell you this, but we’re doing a pretty poor job of keeping it.

Thing is, I love this land – and so do many of you – and so do many folks you and I might disagree with. Sure, there’s a crowd that doesn’t, but it’s not going to do much good finger pointing today. If we are to survive – and there’s no law that says we have to – we better find some common ground, or at the very least agree to disagree – and find a way for us all to live with that instead of gearing up for a fight.



Think of it like a terrible, terrible fight with your spouse – a fight that goes about as bad as it can and then one of you wins and the other loses.

How’s that working out for the one on the short end?

A school teacher once told me that honors and advanced classes were created not just to help the best and brightest, but to ensure that the students who struggled the most – you know, my group – didn’t get left behind. Teachers at all levels could concentrate on helping students succeed, and grow, and advance.

That’s kind of the way our country used to be. We clearly valued the best and brightest – setting them up as role models, putting them in positions of leadership . . . But now it’s gone the other way. We almost shun the best and brightest. If someone does everything right and builds a good future for themselves, they become the enemy. Doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as diet and taking care of themselves (body shaming) or if they build a business and wealth, they are no longer to be looked up to, to be a shining example.

Instead, under the concept of inclusion, we put others on the pedestal. We no longer aim high. We don’t want to offend anyone, so we’ve lowered our standards. Greatly.

We celebrate spending more than we earn – following our government’s lead. We completely devalue life, whether it’s in a womb or on a street waiting to be gunned down. We pooh-pooh law and order, going so far as to make things legal that just a few years ago were unthinkable. We have thrown away decades of improving relations – between races, between sexes, between lifestyles – and drawn harsh lines that clearly leave deep, deep divisions.

For what?

Are we a better country on the cusp of birthday 237 than we were say at 220? 225? 200? I think we all know the answer to that.

Let’s be clear though. The answer is still inclusion. It always has been. We need to embrace our fellow citizens, regardless of our differences. We simply need to stop cramming those differences down throats that don’t want to be crammed.

We need to do that because America has given us so much. So very much . . . and it all started with a small group saying they were fed up.

Sound familiar?

Again, how?

Where do we go from here? Armed rebellion sure isn’t the answer. Do you want to be the guy bringing a gun to an F-16 fight? The answer can’t be violence. It has to be much smarter than that. It has to effect real change.

We have to.

Our current model is unsustainable. It’s not sustainable internally. We’re going broke. Parts of our society – our brothers and sisters – hate each other. It’s not sustainable externally. Did you hear the news that China is looking to establish a military presence in Cuba? In 1962, the idea of the Russians doing that with nuclear missiles brought the world to the brink of unthinkable war. How well will you sleep with China 90 miles from our border?

Like my friend John Hammer said, we’re fixing to come up a bad cloud. Whether it’s us, wokeism, Biden, Trump, the Chinese, Russians . . . we need to find some answers . . . and quickly.

Next week, we turn 237. Does anyone believe that unless something changes America won’t last another 237? Even 7? If not, then the overriding question is this: When are we going to do something about it?

-Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically 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