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What Happened to America’s “Can Do” Spirit?

circa 1942:  A full-length view of uniformed male workers assembling M-3 tanks in an American factory during World War II, 1940s.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

By Wayne McGlaughlin:

As a Nation, our vision of the future has become myopic going on totally blind.  No problem is too small to become a major obstacle and the old “can-do” attitude has given way to “who cares”.

During World War II, I was going through my Cub Scout years when education was the 3 R’s and celebrities were authentic heroes.  “Can do” is what fueled our WWII effort.  When European hedgerows stopped our tanks cold after D-Day, a sergeant by the name of Curtis Cullin welded metal “horns” on the front of a Sherman tank from scrap metal salvaged off Omaha Beach.  When General Omar Bradley went to see this innovation in action, he ordered all scrap metal from Omaha Beach delivered to the front line which enabled us to punch through toward Germany.

When we needed longer range fighter escorts to protect our bombers, the P51 Mustang was developed from scratch to wings in the sky in a matter of weeks.  In fact, the entire post Pearl Harbor mobilization effort was a “can-do” miracle that propelled us into the post-war Eisenhower years and the most powerful economic engine in history.  It is important to note that funding for the war effort came from borrowed money – we borrowed it from ourselves and cashed-in war bonds, fueling the post-war boom.

Something Fishy?

The extraordinary deference paid to the parochial views of tiny minorities is precluding the kind of bold actions that propelled the U.S. into the world’s preeminent twentieth-century power.  It is reminiscent of liberum veto of the 17th century Polish parliament whereby it took the objection of only one member to defeat a piece of legislation.

Protection of minority rights in the midst of a ruling majority is intrinsic in the U.S. Constitution. But when water, which was routinely diverted by canals and aqueducts to produce bountiful crops from rich California farmland, was stopped in the face of a four-year drought by a tiny fish that threatens the livelihood of food producers and strains the budgets of millions of families, where is our sense of proportion?

When the demonstrably bogus ‘science’ of man-made climate change is allowed to fundamentally disrupt the energy production structure of this country to the detriment of our living standard, it clearly demonstrates how utterly devoid of common sense our governance has become.

When something called ‘politically correct speech’ is imposed on public discussion, how far from the Orwellian world of thought control are we really?

What can you say when the President of the United States, appearing at a town hall campaign rally, responds to a young lady’s question about voting illegals with assurance that her act of voting will not result in her deportation. “When you vote, you are a citizen”, he says.

When the mass media picks and chooses which laws being broken deserve outrage, depending on who is breaking the law, are they not the de facto judge and jury of how we all shall live?  Is this not part and parcel of the stifling of shared inspiration we proclaim with the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and yes, Public Prayer?  For every “can do” inspiration, there is a scoff who says, “not on my watch”.

If you stop and listen, blocking out the cacophony of today’s culture, the almost imperceptible drip, drip, drip you hear are our most cherished values leaking down the drain.

Wayne McLaughlin is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army veteran.

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