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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What happened to my country? What happened to the country that used to give glory to God, but understood that God is not a scientist? What happened to the country that used to pride itself on being so united that the people’s opinion actually meant something? What happened to the country that held its politicians accountable and wasn’t so distracted by celebrity weddings or royal births that corrupt politicians were allowed to stay in office? What happened to the country where each generation wanted the next generation to have more opportunity?

When did the people of this country turn so self-centered and greedy? When did religion suddenly become a basis for creating public school curriculums? When did science suddenly become the enemy? When did people make the conscious decision to be more concerned about some extramarital affair a presidential candidate had 20 years ago than in that candidate’s ability to lead? When did the desire to pave a better future for our children get caught up in political mud-slinging?

Don’t tell me I am na├»ve and that America has always been a despondent hellhole filled with political agendas and bought-and-paid-for presidential administrations. I grew up in the 1970s and I saw America on the rise. There was no greater celebration of America than the Bicentennial. Outwater Park was filled to capacity with people wearing red, white, and blue telling stories about how much they loved their country. It was a massive crowd at Outwater Park that year, but I don’t remember a single fight, arrest, or incident.

So don’t tell me that I am idealistic and that my version of America never existed, because it did. I lived through it and I miss it so. I miss the days when I could walk around Lockport at night as a pre-teen or young teenager and the thought of coming across any trouble never even crossed my mind.

I remember Halloween. Do you remember Halloween? When I was a kid, Halloween was one of those days that we spent weeks preparing for. We made our own costumes and we went trick or treating. The entire city was mobbed with kids going door to door. I even remember trick or treating in my winter jacket and boots in a blinding slush storm.

So don’t tell me my America never existed. And don’t tell me that it is time to accept the harsh reality that America is changing. America isn’t changing; it is rotting from the inside. Racism is an ugly, ugly tool used by people who want to keep the country divided and fighting. The color of someone’s skin does not dictate the content of their character. Not my line, but still a great one.

The media uses racism to get viewers and web traffic, while stoking the fires that would create more riots around the country. Why? So CNN can go to New York City and Los Angeles and treat a riot like they are covering some kind of political convention. I still laugh at Chris Cuomo when he gets bombed with tear gas and then acts like the police did something wrong. It is a riot, you idiot. Stop pointing your cameras at the rioters and giving them a reason to riot. Stop inciting more riots. Stop giving Al Sharpton face time so that he can continue to stoke the fires of racism.

My America had its problems. We had riots too. But they weren’t treated like regular occurrences. The riots I remember were the result of years of anguish boiling up into a rage that could no longer be contained. But these days, you have professional rioters who go from city to city turning peaceful protests into violent clashes with the law. In almost every instance, from Baltimore to Ferguson, the initial protests were peaceful. But when the professional rioters showed up, that is when the stores were looted and businesses were destroyed.

At least some of the people in Baltimore got smart and started to fight back against the people from outside Baltimore who were just there to cause trouble. And what about the Baltimore Mom of the Year? Child abuse, you say? No ma’am. That was good parenting.

My America was a leader in education, technology research, the arts, and economic expansion. My America was not overwhelmed by British actors playing Spider-Man, or Irish rock bands playing the Super Bowl. That was because all of the talent was here and the rest of the world was trying to keep up with our artistic endeavors. But now we would rather spend money on tanks and fighter jets than music classes and the arts.

Our government sends billions of dollars to countries all over the world to help build up their schools and create better roads. Meanwhile, we have schools in this country that are closing and roads that are impassable. Our government no longer cares about us, but that is not what they say when they run for office. Every politician unveils a grand domestic plan if they are elected, but it gets shelved when they win because all of the money for those domestic plans is sent to countries around the world.

Would it be a crime for the United States to stop giving away billions of dollars to other countries for maybe five years and just focus on our own country? We can fix our roads, repair our schools, really figure out what to do about healthcare, help kids who want a college education to get it, develop programs for the poor, and bring our country back to its feet again.

When America collapses, there will be no one there to help. There are no countries sending foreign aid to the United States. There are no countries giving the United States billions of dollars just to be friends. We are, and always have been, on our own.

My America worried about my America. The priority was to keep America great and then make sure that injustice throughout the rest of the world was destroyed. Were we perfect? Of course not. We actually sucked at a lot of the things we tried to do. But along the way, we nurtured our own children, repaired our own roads, and made sure that America was a strong beacon for the rest of the world.

I don’t live in my America anymore. I live in an America I simply do not recognize. Corruption, greed, politics, and religion have crippled a country that used to be able to take the crown as the greatest country in the world. We don’t deserve that crown anymore because we do not want it. We used to be proud of ourselves and we used to work hard to defend everything that was important to us. But now, we are slowly decaying into something that just does not resemble the beacon of freedom.

I miss my America. But most of all, I miss what my America could have been to my kids and my grandsons. They have no idea how great this country used to be. And the sad part is, they will probably never really know what they are missing.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident and proud citizen of his America. Join him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or send him an email at If you are looking to talk politics, don’t bother. It is just too depressing.

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  1. Excellent commentary. I remember the old days myself. Born 1952

  2. OMG Mr. Root. I think you are inside my brain. As a Vietnam born in 1948 (yes that makes me 67) I remember playing outside till the street lights came on and sometimes even later than that. There were no unsafe places and you could go to any stranger for help. I rue the loss of the America I once knew.


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