The Lost Art Of Counting Blessings
By Alicia Colon
The youth of the Western World has no concept of history or what their grandparents lived through. The greatest generation that overcame so much in the Great Depression yet succeeded in life gave birth to the worst one - mine.
Before Hurricane Sandy blasted the Northeast, I had long believed that America was "veddy, veddy good" to us. Even though our area was one of the hardest hit, my belief never changed but many here in Staten Island who'd lost everything would not share that viewpoint. America has enjoyed one of the highest standards of living and most have avoided serious deprivation nevertheless our government lists more and more as living below the poverty level. But the only Americans who have really suffered true physical hardship and deprivation as bad as those suffered in the Great Depression are our military.
This conclusion may be difficult to accept for those Americans who have lost jobs, homes, and loved ones due to natural disasters and the poor economy but counting one's blessings is a survival tactic we should employ especially during the times that try our souls. It is a lost art that younger generations have not had the benefit of learning. As a young child I remember the lyrics of the 1954 song sung by Eddie Fisher, "Count Your Blessings."
When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
Growing up with few material goods, living in a run down tenement in the barrio, one would think that would be difficult for me to do. In addition to the poverty, my home life was pretty dysfunctional but I was also blessed with the gift of attending to a local parochial school where the Sisters of Mercy gave us Maryknoll pamphlets with pictures of the poor of the Third World living in mud huts and drinking contaminated water. How blessed was I to live in America where I knew my situation would eventually improve and it did.
The youth of the Western World has no concept of history or what their grandparents lived through. The greatest generation that overcame so much in the Great Depression yet succeeded in life gave birth to the worst one - mine. The worst of us then went on and spawned an even more spoiled and ignorant group that showed up on Wall Street full of contempt, whining about everything from racism to student loans they have no intention of paying back.
What a sad anarchic lot they were and what was even sadder was the support they received from that 'worst' generation which is now powerful in politics and the mainstream media and that only knows how to deal with adversity one way - by playing the blame game. Unfortunately, the blame game works and the recent presidential election results prove that. The Democrats have succeeded in blaming the poor economy on President Bush and the Republicans even though the dire economic numbers only occurred after the Democrats took over Congress in 2007. Demagoguery works when the public is ignorant of the past and overlooks the enormous improvements made to their lives.
I live near a public housing project and when I sit on my porch watching someone headed towards them, I see them shoot daggers at me in envy for my perceived better circumstances. They cannot know that both my husband, who is a Southern white man, and I were overjoyed to move into public housing which was vastly superior to our previous domiciles. The projects had walls with no holes, bathrooms that worked and exterminators that kept the vermin under control. It took me years to get used to a vermin-free environment.
My husband grew up near the Everglades in even worse circumstances where food on the table had to be trapped and shot so his family could have something to eat. Thanks to the race-baiting politicians, it is hard to imagine that whites like my husband ever had it as hard as or even harder than any minority. History disclosing this fact is not being taught in public schools because the academic industry prefers the historical revision touted by multiculturalism. The portrait of America as an imperialist nation that ignores the plight of the poor is an outright lie perpetuated by the Marxists embedded in our schools and universities.
I recently watched a PBS broadcast of The American Experience program which starkly showed in old film footage what occurred in the 1930s during the severe seven-year drought that created the infamous dust bowl disaster which decimated millions of acres of farmland in the Midwest states and Canada. Families lost their homes and ended up leaving for California and other states where the economic conditions were just as bad due to the Depression. These predominantly white farmers ended up being migrants working for slave wages picking fruit and other crops. The PBS program with its stark film footage should be required viewing in every inner-city public school where students think they're the only ones who've ever had it tough.
The dust bowl survivors overcame their hardships by working hard and never giving up and they succeeded because they lived in an America that gave them the freedom to do so. Those same freedoms are being sapped away by an ever-encroaching government behemoth which depends on a populace steeped in class envy and government dependence to keep it in power.
There has been a feeling in this country since the election that we are a nation lost; that we, the independent doers are outnumbered by the takers in a country headed for European style socialism; that we are allegedly as doomed as doomed can be. I, on the other hand, the cockeyed optimist who always counts her blessings continues to believe in our future.
We are Americans and our country has the very best constitution ever written which allows us to thwart a takeover by a tyrannical totalitarian. Republicans still have control of the House and in this case, gridlock is a good thing. In 2014, we may be able to take back the Senate and possibly pass legislature that can cut spending and the deficit which our children and grandchildren will have to pay for. Thirty-three states now have Republican governors who can wield the power of states' rights to nullify bad laws.
This coming Thursday is Thanksgiving and instead of this day being a date loathed by many because of difficult family relations, we should be thankful that there is food on the table; that we are alive to share it and most of all that we live in America, which is still the land with amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties and fruited plains but alas - no more Twinkies and Ho-Hos.
While we are counting our blessings, let us pray for our allies in Israel as they try to defend themselves from an enemy bent on its destruction. May the land of milk and honey have many more blessings to count.
Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.aliciacolon.com