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My Thoughts on Chapter One: I love this chapter! The energy that is created while reading just makes you want to jump up and do something! I am impressed with Carol Swain's footnotes, book references, and quotes all of which tie into the point she is making. I love how she does make her views known, but then leaves it open for you to make your own choices regarding how to handle what she has written. I am so thankful for the information that is packed into this chapter and the fact that it makes you THINK!
Discussion Questions1. Why have Americans been largely complicit in the reshaping of their nation by a small group of elites? What events have spurred the recent grassroots uprisings by everyday Americans? Do you believe the intensity behind these movements will last?
My Response: Honestly, I think the reason that most Americans are ok with losing their political freedom is due to their addiction to distractions. Hollywood, the mall, sports and anything else you can name clearly is far more important to the average American than their future or their children's futures. Not too mention what kids are learning these days and what adults consider stimulating education. Don't even get me started on the elementary educational system.
I believe that a few people had something happen in their lives where the last several decades of elections made them realize that life as they were raised to believe existed, was about to end. Let's face it and be realistic, freedom in America has nearly disintigrated since the early 1960's. It had been downhill for awhile, but the big shove came in the 60's. People like me, finally started waking up to the stupidity of the "deer in the headlights generations" and now have to fight to hang on to what little freedom we now have left.
The intesity of these movements may actually wane for a short time, but the sheer number of people who are now educating their children on the Founding Father's words and orginal documents is staggering. Eventually, this movement of people ready to reclaim freedom will blaze even brighter than it is now thanks to the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of families raising up a new George Washington, John Adams, or Hyam Solomon!
2. Swain asserts the power of "cultural enforcers" to define what is seen as acceptable and what constitutes legitimate arguments in policy debates today. For instance, the much-criticized fireing of Jaun Williams by NPR in October 2010 stands as an example of the enforcer's desire to limit debate. How have cultural enforcers influenced or stifled your freedom of speech and debate in your local communities?
My Response: Most Americans have the problem of not being able to tell the truth due to someone becoming "offended." I have seen this in the public school system, the business place, and even in the streets. No matter where you go, people are more than willing to get offended at something that is said. I like to think of those people as liberals (people who are looking for a lawsuit to file or another way to bring another person down). The world was not always politically correct and it will not always be like this either, history always changes the current culture for better or worse.
3. Swain states that the efforts made by "cultural enforcers" to promote moral relitivism and tolerance are "tragically well-intentioned, motivated by a desire to create a better world---a utopian society that replaces old values and norms with a better way of life." Eden, the original utopia, was doomed by the failures of man. Since man is not perfect, is such a utopia ever possible? What does the Bible say regarding a utopia on earth?
My Response: Literally, for a utopia to happen here on earth, it will take an act of G-d. No human can devise something utopian where everyone will be happy unless certain groups of people are eliminated that will not fit with that particular concept of "utopia." Obviously Adam and Eve were not able to fit into the confines of the Garden of Eden and they can be considered perfect up until the fall...so no, there will be no Utopia without a massive intervention by G-d Himself.
4. Do you believe that America is a Christian nation? Why or why not? If not, do you believe America was, at one point in our history, a Christian nation? What does it mean to consider America as a Christian nation? How should our laws, our morality, and our leaders represent such a distinction, if we, in fact, seek to be represented as a Christian nation?
My Response: Yes, America was founded to be a Christian nation. Many stores close on Sundays (the Christian version of Shabbat), Christmas is still a huge deal (celebrated as the birth of Christ when in fact it was Nimrod's birthday), and Easter is still a huge deal in the United States of America (celebrated as the Resurrection of Christ when in fact it was a date picked by Constantine because he liked Ishtar the pagan goddess amongst other things).
When I think of America as a Christian nation, I think of paganism. Most doctrines are not true to the Word of G-d and are made up as people go along. I do believe however that our Founding Fathers had a very different outlook on the Bible. They at least took the Ten Commandments very seriously and much of the Founding Documents have Torah underlyings. Clearly, the Founders viewed things much differently than modern Christians today.
I believe that if this nation is to be represented as a "Christian" nation than our representatives and Ambassadors must take the 613 Torah Commandments seriously (if you are Anti-Torah, read Romans 3:31). There can be no room for error to make up for the mistakes of the past.
On a side note, as much as I disagree with the Theology of Christianity...if they lose their religious freedom, so goes the rest of the country.
5. Swain sees sobering parallels between the totalitarian dystopia presented in George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and the direction our society is heading today. Furthermore, since the presidency of Barack Obama, sales of Ayn Rand's dystopian novel, "Atlas Shrugged," have skyrocketed as the Tea Party has embraced the books antisocialist message, recognizing ominous parallels in Rand's novel as well. Are these fears justified? Do other works of fiction provide parallels for the path America is currently taking?
My Response: These fears are totally justified. Just with people that I know and conversations I have been party too, people are all too quick to want to take away basic rights and freedoms of others...much like a bully. If the common people want to do this, how much more do the elite?
One book that is coming to mind that was right on the money in my opinion is, "The Overton Window," by Glenn Beck. The, "Lord of the Rings," trilogy by, J.R.R. Tolkein also is a fascinating look at what we have today. My husband and I joke that Communists are actually goblins. C.S. Lewis also did a fantastic job of portraying some of this mindset in his book, "The Screwtape Letters." You can also see bits and pieces in, "The Chronicles of Narnia." Thank HaShem that in these books you are left with some hope...I can't say the same for our real life situation at the moment.
6. In what ways is America exceptional? How has this exceptionalism been manifested through our history? What is it about our heritage and our value system that makes our country unique among the nations of the world?
My Response: America has always loved people and that sets us apart from other countries. Our Constitution starts off, "We The People," instead of we the government. That is fascinating when you think about it. Up until around the Civil War, the people mattered (no, I am not talking about white supremacy here...do your research). After that it made the switch from "We the People" to "We the Government." Our Founders must be rolling in their graves.
Because of America's love of people, we have always been first to help those in need. From personal donations to government foreign aid (which I do not agree with as it causes higher taxes), America reaches out and understands what it means to give. To me that is the heritage worth fighting for. To be able to pass on a heritage of giving and helping those in need, that would be something to be proud of.
7. How can we restore our national identity? Through what forums, political and otherwise, can we voice our discontent with the loss of our identity?
My Response: It starts with the individual. In my opinion, there are too many people that live in America that hate America. Is there a good reason why they cannot just move to another country that has a system set up that they already like? I don't see that as too much to ask. To reclaim America and her identity is to live it and pass it on to others.
Personally, I blog about what I see happening to America, I post on Twitter, and I post on my favorite news websites. I take part in polls, I vote, and I teach my children about the past as the collective future of America is riding on their generations shoulders.