Beyond the obvious negative political and economic consequences of our cultural and moral decline, what breaks my heart is the loss of what it means to be an American.
I have written about my dad on numerous occasions, but for those of you who are unfamiliar, my dad epitomizes what it used to mean to be an American.
Born out-of-wedlock, dad was raised in the ghetto of east Baltimore by his aunt, and has been an entrepreneur since age 10. He shined shoes on the weekends at the Greyhound bus station. On a good weekend dad earned $1.25. Dad bragged to his buddies that he was a man because he purchased his own clothes — a t-shirt — and paid room and board — 25 cents to Aunt Nee. Now in his 80’s, I still feel dad’s pride when he talks about his first job.
Dad served in the Merchant Marines. He still bears deep emotional scars from an incident when whites in the South tried to hang dad for simply getting off the ship. White shipmates saved dad’s life.
Dad married and had five kids, while breaking the color barrier in the Baltimore City Fire Department in the mid 1950s. Dad could not use the same eating utensils or drink from the same coffee pot as the white firefighters. Despite deplorable, humiliating and unfair conditions, dad won Firefighter of the Year twice. Not once did dad expect or request special concessions or lower his standards due to his skin color.
As a young minister, dad strove to be excellent; a good representative for Christ and Negroes.
After two years, a new white firefighter arrived at Engine 6. Dad said the new guy came upstairs and invited dad to have coffee with the crew.
Dad’s oxygen mask malfunctioned causing him to pass out in a burning building. The chief ordered his crew out of the inferno. Upon realizing that dad had not exited the building, John, who was the most racist of the crew, went back into the smoke filled burning building. He found dad and saved his life. The two became lifelong friends.
Dad became Baltimore’s first black paramedic. He was also a chaplain in the Baltimore Fire Dept for 50 years. He earned a doctorate in theology and has authored books.
I feel incredibly blessed that I still get occasional phone calls from my 85 year old dad who calls to tell me his latest corny joke, or one he forgot he told me. I laugh regardless. His wife, my mother, passed away almost 20 years ago.
Dad is all about trying to do the right thing and striving for excellence, not expecting anyone to give you anything. Pastor of four churches, dad still stays busy visiting the sick and the shut-ins.
So, when I see Obama and the mainstream media constantly lowering the bar, expecting less and less of Americans in every area of our lives, morally, educationally, economically and etc, I mourn the loss of what it use to mean to be an American.
If Obama and the mainstream media’s vision for America is realized, there will be far fewer great American success stories like my dad’s. Most Americans will be on food stamps, abortions and murder rates will continue to skyrocket, and mediocrity will be distributed equally.