On the Road to Itascas
Martin Luther King Jr. said, "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." To imagine freedom is to imagine infinity. The dream of freedom is self-renewing, inexhaustible, represents unity in diversity, and increases when shared. But whence comes the capacity to hope infinitely for an elusive ideal?
Infinity can only come from infinity. Identification with God is the source of the hope for freedom. Man cannot offer himself freedom. Human law can provide only the recompense of entitlement, inherent in which are jealousy, rivalry, and the delusion of specialness. Was Reverend King referring to the infinite hope for more food stamps, Medicaid, and Obamaphones? That is all socialist entitlement offers.
Here is a snapshot of three generations of an American family. It points out the structural choices they made, pushed along by the forces of anti-moral humanism, to the inevitable endpoint of degeneracy and socialism.
Not too long ago, a friend told me she was concerned about Sarah, who was homeless and living in an old Itasca motorhome in a Walmart parking lot. She thought the lady could camp on our land for the winter. I met Sarah at a Starbucks near where her motor home was parked. She glided in, ethereally beautiful at 65. She was dressed entirely in black, practical for a lady who does not have a washer-dryer, but I don't think she was dressing for practicality. Her outfits emphasized the paper whiteness of her skin. She confided in me her regimen to protect such white skin at the beach. She kept her hair in a turban, a small art deco ruby and diamond stick pin leant a discreet twinkle from the folds of her headpiece.
We met several times. Sarah wanted to tell me the story of her life, but most of all she wanted to read her poetry. Southern ladies like Sarah speak with a velvety charm, and nothing sounds unpleasant. She let it be known she was born into one of the leading families in a city in Virginia, that she graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English, specializing in Elizabethan poetry.
Her first husband is still a surgeon. They had a son, Jamison, bless his heart. It seems Jamison entered the parking lot pharmaceutical industry in his teen years and never quite moved on with his life. He would be 40 today. She hasn't seen him in years. Her second husband was an IT professional from India. At the time of his sudden departure he told her he would send divorce papers. They never arrived and she supposes they are still married. Between her marriages she got onto the rolls of Social Security Disability, based on the conditions of depression, fibromyalgia, and a reaction to toxic exposure that the doctors don't understand. Thank goodness, because she can't imagine how she would have managed without what she calls, "this mite of help." Sarah gets $1100 a month disability, Medicare, and Food Stamps, and then people are so kind. These days Sarah concentrates on her medical care, her poetry, and life "in the now" in the Itasca.
She showed me a picture of her granddaughter, Stella. Sadness seeped through her composure. The picture was of a 14-year-old child who looked 20 and super-model beautiful. Jamison never acknowledged his daughter and never supported her. Sarah does not know where Stella is living now, but hopes someday she will see her again.
The three generations of this family represent progressive stages in the free-fall of the American family. Sarah was born in 1948. She was a member of the first generation of normative lifestyle experimentalists in unending search for their inner selves. Jamison's was the first generation in which illegal drug use and sex without marriage became accepted norms throughout the middle class. Stella was born into a fatherless world of foregone government dependence.
In the span of these three generations, four interwoven belief systems have grown like scales over the eyes of America: anti-Christianity; pro-sexuality; anti-life, and pro-socialism. Their lives are a sampler of choices based on these doctrines. After Sarah married she became "depressed." She had never been so alone. Her husband was doing a medical residency and was gone most of the time. She began seeing a psychotherapist, a caring, warm person who did not follow religious teaching about honoring parents. He helped her see that the defining feature of her childhood was that her father was an alcoholic. Her parents' weaknesses needed minute exploration; she would not be ready to be a wife until she recovered from being an adult child of an alcoholic.
Beginning in the 1950s the pro-sexuality belief system transformed every aspect of American life and culture: thou shalt put no consideration before sexual identity and gratification. When Sarah's first husband started having an affair it was understood that they would divorce. He had a right to have his needs met. Infidelity is more insupportable when there is no religious basis of a marriage, and no tradition of repentance or forgiveness.
Jamison, of course, never associated sex exclusively with marriage. Such an idea is offensive to this generation.
Stella was a choice, not a child, to Jamison. If she had to be born, then he made the choice to ignore her. And who has the right to judge? Wherever Stella is, she is not starving for food. Her famine is a lack of moral truth. Stella knows there is such a thing as fathers but she has never felt the love of her own father. That she doesn't have one leaves her clinging to things that feel like safety, but aren't. She doesn't know there was a time in America when men would work themselves to death before they would let somebody else feed their babies.
The question is often posed, "Can't a country as rich as America afford to feed all of its children?" No, it can't. The question itself is socialist rhetoric because "America" doesn't feed anybody, Americans do. As the out of wedlock birthrate for American babies approaches half of all born, it is impossible for only half of the parents to financially support all of the children. Parents who marry, plan carefully, and work hard to take good care of their children absolutely cannot afford to provide food, shelter, medical care and other necessities for children of parents like Stella's. Also, the American people need to decide if they can afford to pay permanent government alimony to a remarkably active lady who had two wealthy husbands. And while she only receives $1100 a month, she has used more than a million Medicare dollars in the 15 years she has been on disability.
Sarah and Jamison made their choices. Somewhere a tall, beautiful 18-year-old girl named after starlight is beginning to make the choices that will structure her life. Now the American people must choose, if it's not to late, yay or nay, to begin a mighty battle to reclaim infinite hope for freedom, or accept socialist drudgery.
Eventually our meetings at Starbucks ended. It meant so much to Sarah to be taken seriously as a poet. She departed with the directive not to trouble about her. She would be fine. She enjoyed her "independence," and will be spending the winter with a gentlemen friend.