As I write, I am about 25 minutes from the town in which Charlie Daniels was raised/reared and about 50 miles from his birthplace. I point this out, so that if you think my views are outside the norm, then I have to tell you, they are in sync with those of my neighbors here in North Carolina.
For Instance: Charlie says:
“I can see why you think America is a weak race, if you judge us by our media or what our politicians have to say, but I've got a rude awakening for you. That ain't America. If you want to see America… go to a NASCAR race or a Friday night football game at some little town in Texas. Have some eggs and grits in a truck stop in South Georgia, check out a rodeo or pick up basketball game in the Bronx. Take a look at the people around you and you’ll find that they don't look anything like the pansies you see on TV or the politicians whose pictures are in the newspapers.”
Yep, right on, Charlie, right on!
Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that there REALLY ARE two Americas as John Edwards has been preaching for ever so long now? Well, yes, there are two Americas. There always has been. In fact there are at least THREE Americas!
We Americans like to kid ourselves and confidently tell ourselves that we have no class system in America. That is blatantly untrue.
If one goes back to the founding of the country we readily see that a ruling class was established, right up front, and those not in the ruling class were, well, the “others’. We have developed an upper class, a middle class and a lower class. I have a friend who is fond of saying that he used to be in the upper lower class. Now, however, he is in the lower upper class! He may be right.
I have listened, viewed, and read a number of stories in recent days about Obama’s “elitism”. I have no doubt he is an elitist. But then, aren’t all the presidential candidates? The truthful answer is… yes… they are.
I spoke, just this morning, with a gentleman, a veteran of the Korean War. I don’t know his name and he doesn’t know mine. It was a “chance” meeting. Both of us from the Carolinas, both of us country boys, both of us veterans, both of us assuredly not elite, yet both of us long in the tooth, gray haired, and scarred by the passage of time and the weight of experience. We began to talk of the sorry state our country is in. In a few short moments both admitted neither of us had a candidate we could vote for in the coming presidential election.
My new friend began to relate to me his experiences in the Korean War. He told me of losing his best buddy to a sniper while retrieving a broken down truck from a mountainside near the Yalu River. He told how, as he drove and struggled to keep the truck he was driving, and the truck he was towing, from going off the mountain, a shot rang out and his best buddy slumped over mortally wounded by a sniper’s bullet right between the eyes. He told of the struggle to get down the mountain with both trucks and his dead best friend beside him. He made it.
Upon reaching what served as a motor pool and after the body of his dead friend was taken away, his commanding officer asked him how he managed to complete the mission. He told me how he reached into the left breast pockets of his fatigues and lifted out a small white bound New Testament. Handing it to his C.O. he said: “This is now I made it, sir”.
Tears had welled up in his eyes as he related this story to me. And then he reached over and touched me and said: Sir, I think you will appreciate this”, and he reached into his left breast pocket and brought out that same white bound New testament, the very one he had on his person in Korea. He told me his mother gave that to him the day he left for Korea, in 1951, and she told him to always keep it with him and it would serve him well and keep him out of trouble.
The Testament is now a dingy white, the lettering all rubbed off the cover by wear and the pages, though easily readable, are dog eared, folded over, written on with sundry bits of paper marking certain pages and even a few notes tucked between the pages.
He held that New Testament with tears welling up in both his eyes and he looked at me with the certain knowledge that I would understand his feeling and his attachment to that little book containing the “Good News”, the Gospel of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I have to admit that my eyes had welled up, too. We were just two old men, who have seen our share of sorrow and joy, of success and failure, of love and loss, of war and peace. And both share in the peace that comes from knowing “in Whom we believe”.
We parted company, by shaking hands and wishing each other a good day.
Now, why am I relating this story to you? Because I know, and those of us who have our anchor in the Christian faith know, that our religion is not a prop. I mean… it is not something we cling to ONLY when times get rough. It is far deeper than that. It is a part of who we are as Christians and as “believing” Americans.
As the election draws ever closer in America, the view of the three candidates running for President of the US becomes clearer. We have come to see that all three are, indeed, elitists. I’m sure they would deny it, but their lives, the way they live their lives, underscores their elitism.
Frankly, it isn’t their elitism that bothers me that much. Their hypocrisy, however, does. You see, I remember Adlai Stevenson. I remember his elitism… but I have no recollection of his ever denying it. Of course, he lost in both his bids as the Democratic Party’s candidate for President.
The point is… none of the current candidates can relate to the vast majority of Americans. It simply isn’t in them. Why? Well, we have come full circle now. We are back to the “Ruling Class” and the Ruling Class, by necessity, is elitist. Only an elitist could believe he, or she, has whatever it takes to lead the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
So, to sum up, I think it may well take an elitist to rule the country, but never allow yourself to be misled into believing they actually care for you as a person, or that they will ever relate to you as anything other than a member of a class lower than theirs.
Oh, my new friend... from this morning's encounter... he's a democrat.