GrassTopsUSA Exclusive CommentaryBy Don Feder 07/02/2012
In 1939, Hollywood gave us Henry Fonda in â€œYoung Mr. Lincoln,â€ a gentle but compelling portrait of our 16th president as a frontier lawyer. The following year, Raymond Massey won an Oscar for his title role in â€œAbe Lincoln In Illinois.â€
Now playing, â€œAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,â€ which presents the Great Emancipator as a cross between Professor Van Helsing and the Amazing Spiderman. Hollywood of the Golden Age was optimistic, reverent, patriotic and romantic. Hollywood of the Dross Age is nihilistic, cynical, violent, sex-saturated and anti-American.
Four things happened last week â€“ the week before our countryâ€™s 236th birthday â€“ that illustrate Americaâ€™s rapid descent and call into question how many 4th of Julys we have left.
One â€“ Chief Justice John Roberts betrayed the Constitution and America by joining the Gang of Four (the Supreme Courtâ€™s hard left bloc) to uphold Obamacare, under Congressâ€™ power to tax. Thanks to Roberts, in the future, Washington can compel us to do virtually anything â€“ buy hybrid cars, stop eating fatty foods, put solar panels on our houses. All it has to do to make it pass constitutional muster is to threaten to fine us. Since a fine is now a tax, voila it falls under Congressâ€™ taxing power.
The decision in NFIB v. Sebelius didn't kill the Constitution, but further enabled a government which couldnâ€™t have been imagined even 50 years ago. When a case comes before them, most federal judges first decide on the outcome they want, then rationalize it based on a highly imaginative reading of the Constitution, the Magna Carta or the Code of Hammurabi.
Two â€“ In an interview with NPR, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos (the only service chief who publicly opposed repeal of Donâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tell) said if a homosexual Marine wanted to bring his â€œpartnerâ€ to a Marine Corps ball, â€œIâ€™m fine with it.â€ From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of LGBT?
August will mark the 70th anniversary of the Marines landing on Guadalcanal, the first engagement in the island-hopping campaign of World War II. In six months of bitter fighting, 11 Medals of Honor were awarded, 5 posthumously. Almost 1,600 soldiers and Marines fell on The Canal. Today, the Marine Corps is just another casualty of the culture war.
Three â€“ Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of a presidentâ€™s cabinet to be held in contempt of Congress, for trying to cover up Fast and Furious, the operation where the BATF provided 2,500 guns to Mexican drug cartels to prove that we need tighter gun control. The guns were used to commit 200 murders in Mexico, as well as the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.
Holderâ€™s stonewalling is what youâ€™d expect from the most lawless administration in our history. The president refuses to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (violating his duty to â€œtake care that the laws be faithfully executedâ€). He created a blanket amnesty for up to one million illegal aliens, something that just months ago he said he didnâ€™t have the power to do. He refuses to defend our borders, then sues states for doing the job he wonâ€™t do. This year, he and Holder have launched an all-out-offensive against states that are trying to prevent election fraud with voter ID laws.
Obama rules by executive order, scorns our Judeo-Christian heritage, panders to Islam, is responsible for the three biggest deficits in our history (the only deficits in excess of $1 trillion), has had an increase in unemployment on his watch (despite massive stimulus spending), and pushes collectivism at every opportunity â€“ and heâ€™s running from 1 to 5 points ahead of Romney in almost every poll. In a sane nation, his standing in the polls would be even with the candidate of the Socialist Workers Party, which, in a way, he is.
Four â€“ The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) urged its local offices to have parties to encourage more people to sign up for food stamps. (â€œThrow a great party. Host a special event where people mix and mingle!â€) SNAP is also spending $2.5 million for radio ads, to encourage more dependency.
Food stamp spending has doubled under Obama, who nevertheless is haunted by the fear that somewhere in this fair land, someone who qualifies for the program isnâ€™t enrolled. In the 1970s, one in 50 Americans was getting food stamps. Today, itâ€™s one in 7 â€“ 46.4 million. Welfare spending is the health of the Democrat Party.
Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow our economy will collapse. As of June 30, the National Debt was $15.78 trillion, $5 trillion of that added by the man who solemnly promised nothing but balanced budgets, as a candidate. From 2007 to 2010, the nationâ€™s GDP grew by 4.26%, while the National Debt exploded by 61%. The Debt is growing by $2 million a minute. Each year, the federal workforce alone costs approximately $447 billion â€“ and Obama thinks the public sector is starving.
The dole also rises. In 1980, not that long ago by human reckoning, transfer payments accounted for 11.7% of all income in the United States. Today, itâ€™s 18.4%. Now, 59% of all Americans receive money from Washington, in one form or another. Libertarian slogan from the 1970s: â€œA welfare state is what happens when government of the people and for the people, buys the people.â€ But to call attention to this massive wealth redistribution is to mark one as a member of the 1% plutocracy.
Moral bankruptcy always precedes fiscal bankruptcy.
In the Land of the Free, children are being killed in utero at the rate of two or three a minute â€“ 1.2 million a year. Since Roe v. Wade, more than 55 million Americans have died before they were born -- summarily executed in the name of choice. A woman can choose to have her unborn child killed, but soon wonâ€™t be able to buy popcorn at the movies in New York City. In his memoirs, the author of Roe admitted that a privacy right lurking in a so-called penumbra of the First Amendment was a handy invention.
As of 2009, 41% of children born in the United States were out-of-wedlock. That year, it was estimated that 40% of all marriages will end in divorce. In 2010, Time magazine happily reported that 39% think marriage is obsolete (up from 28% in 1978). In 1960, 72% of adult Americans were married, compared to about half in 2008.
Each year, Americans spend $12 billion on Internet pornography and 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are reported. There are 12.8 million Americans who are classified as regular drug users, while 36 million have tried cocaine.
Based on his 30-year study of the life cycles of civilizations â€“ including Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome â€“ historian Arnold Toynbee warned: â€œCivilizations die from suicide, not murder,â€ and â€œOf the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them have collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.â€ He made that observation in the early 1970s.
In â€œDecline and Fall of the Roman Empire,â€ Gibbon identified five reasons why the glory that was Rome is of another day.
1. The rapid increase of divorce which weakened the family, the foundation of society
2. A tax burden which crushed the middle class to pay for free food for the plebs and â€œentertainmentâ€ to keep them docile â€“ or bread and circuses (One emperor imported grain from Egypt to feed 100,000 in Rome alone.)
3. The pursuit of pleasure as lifeâ€™s highest ambition. Increasingly violent gladiatorial contests.
4. Legions assigned to vague missions. Barbarians at the gates, who were eventually incorporated into the empire and then overthrew it.
5. The decline of religion â€“ ceremonies without substance. Religion that surrendered its role of guiding the nationâ€™s destiny.
Historian Will Durant, author of the 11-volume â€œStory of Civilization,â€ essentially agreed with both Toynbee and Gibbon. â€œA great nation is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Romeâ€™s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes (and) her consuming wars.â€
Weâ€™ve got it all, and then some â€“ almost 1 in 2 marriages ending in divorce (add the devaluation of marriage by the legalization of ersatz unions), the highest effective corporate tax rate in the world, dulling our senses with mindless entertainment (60-inch plasma TVs, iphones , â€œAmerican Idol,â€ â€œDancing With The Starsâ€), the ideology that animates the barbarians at our gates honored as the â€œreligion of peace,â€ and traditional religion on skids. According to the Francis Schaeffer Institute, every year in America, 1,000 churches open and 4,000 close their doors.
Milestones in our cultural death-march include the 1963 school-prayer decision, Roe v. Wade, our growing energy dependence, the abandonment of our allies (from the Shah to Mubarak), a very selective War on Terrorism (some get drones, others get subsides), raw carnality on display on cable television, in the movies and on the Internet, public schools and higher education that imperil our national existence, purging religion from our public life, news media that indoctrinate, porous borders, and exchanging self-government for rule by emperors in black robes.
Given how far gone we are, is there any reason to keep fighting?
At the dedication of a cemetery at the Civil Warâ€™s bloodiest battlefield, Lincoln urged the citizens of a war-weary Union to stay the course (â€œthat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionâ€). Therefore, â€œWe highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.â€
Do we want all of our war dead â€“ from Bunker Hill to Kabul â€“ to have died in vain? Will the sacrifices of our veterans, of the Pilgrims, the pioneers, and those who labored on farms and sweated in factories mean nothing in the long-run? Are we to give up without a fight because our future looks increasingly dim â€“ due to the dimwits in public office and the sheep who put them there?
If so, then, as Mr. Lincoln prophesied, the American idea of one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all surely will â€œperish from this earth,â€ and humanity will enter a Dark Age more savage and terrifying than the one which followed the fall of Rome.