Curtis Dahlgren
"RENEWING" AMERICA (the young and the old of it)!
By Curtis Dahlgren
August 12, 2011

Shoot if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag, she said.
- John Greenleaf Whittier (1863), on a 90-year-old Maryland woman who stared down Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan . . .
Let's get back to where we began.
- Whittier (paraphrased)

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!

We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel . .
In what forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1849)

KIDS BORN IN 1995 ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE, but they can barely remember President Clinton. They wouldn't be able to hum a few bars of "Battle Hymn of the Republic to save their lives. We are becoming anchorless.

Public school "education" has gone from the classical literature of Western Civ to books such as "Everybody Poops" and "Heather Has Two Daddies" (or was that "mommies"?).

But the kids who voted one way in 2008 will have grown up a lot by 2012. They may not remember Reagan, but they've outgrown comic books (there's a new Spider Man who is half black and half hispanic, but "all hero"). A Lennie Reifenstahl-type movie is coming out in October '12, but our 20-somethings are more worried about finding a job and escaping ObomaCare than watching sit-coms or fiction.

As reviled as they are, Tea Party 'terrorists' have forever changed the national conversation — to paraphrase James T. Harris, who is all black and all conservative.

In Wisconsin a year ago, the big rap against Scott Walker was that he didn't have a college degree. He may not have a B.S. but he has a J-O-B, and the courage of his convictions is allowing job-creation for lots of other Badgers. And in the "recall" elections this week, the unions spent twice as much money as the GOP, but the latter won twice as many of the "recalls" so far (some GOP candidates won by larger margins than they did the last time they ran — whether they had college degrees or not).

Even the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel admits that the "Sky isn't falling" (as public employee unions had predicted). They ran their editorial admission on Wednesday, of course, the day after the recall elections. Alberta Darling's opponent didn't even bother making a concessions speech (and political "experts" cried FOUL). The national news people went home with their tails between their legs and hands over their mouths and eyes, and ear plugs in their ears (Walker being the "evil" they don't want to "hear").

The opening day of the state fair began with union thugs trying to shout down Governor Walker, and ended with urban thugs attacking fair goers on their way home (even pulling people off motorcycles and dragging them across the street).

MEMO TO UNION THUGS FROM PUBLIC EMPLOYEES: "You may think you're helping us, but you're not!" (to paraphrase a Democrat legislator).

The Milwaukee flash mob and the drunken London "protests" have a lot in common (attacks on "rich people"). I really really think it's time for our President to tone down his rhetoric concerning "millionaires and billionaires."

The black mayor of Philadelphia told his thugs to, essentially, get a job and buy a belt. He said the reason you don't have a job is because you look like you're crazy (belts are taken away from prison inmates, and going beltless is a tribute to those convicts). The "diversity and equality" fads have deteriorated into "lowest common denominators RULE."

And what's really going on in Scandinavia? The controversies aren't just about diversity and immigration; traditional Norwegians are not only envious of the "rich," but actively resisting prosperity in general. I stumbled upon a good article in the VIKING (magazine for the sons of Norway):

"Norway has often been described as a place where equality is prized and individual success is repressed . . Fully aware of a tendency toward conformity, Norwegians long ago adopted the term Jantelover, or the law of Jante, to describe their national trait. This social rule of thumb is in direct contrast to the American ideal of achievement."

North Sea oil and other factors are seen by many Norsk as more of a threat than a blessing. Professor Karen Knutsen says:

"What encouraged Janteloven to thrive in Norway was the fact that people lived in small, agrarian communities and fishing villages where everybody knew everybody knew everybody else . . "

"According to Knutsen, Janteloven's guiding principle is that no one is better than another is not entirely exclusive to Scandinavian countries, but these social guidelines prospered in Norway because of a sparse population that was widely spread and often secluded." A 77-year-old woman recalls her grade school days:

"The teacher would read aloud the best essay and the worst essay and acknowledge the respective authors. It was, however, amongst the students that Janteloven was especially apparent. The pupils in my school would pick on the students who performed well or were successful at something." [THE END RESULT OF "EQUALITY-TRAINING"?]

No wonder my ancestors were so glad to get the heck out of there, eh? As an aside, lots of Scandinavians ended up in these parts, the U.P. of Michigan. Our population is scattered too — their are more than a million acres for the average family of three — but we have been Americanized, thankfully. I looked up the word 'Americanism' in the dictionary:

Americanism, n; 1) devotion to the country, 2) a custom, trait, or thing peculiar to America.

Our over-educated Liberals assume that Americans think our country is "Special" in the same way other peoples think their culture is "exceptional." NOT.

I could write entire columns on American exceptionalism, but suffice it to say here that the pilgrims and pioneers who chose to come to America were a different "breed of cat" from the ones who stayed behind — those who enjoyed their averageness and so-called "equality."


To chronicle the past week or so would require many more pages, but the bottom line is that we are still the Sons of the Pioneers, and so, we owe it to them to be more prudent and aware — more "active" — than we have been of late. While the Tea parties have started a good fight, the culture war has barely begun.

First of all, let's remember what the word "RENEW" means. According to my trusty '38 Funk & Wagnalls, renew means to essentially "start over" — as in renewing a lease (or a lease on LIFE). And that can be done by the very young and the very old. As that old Native American saying goes:

"If the very old will remember, the very young will listen."

We geezers need to let the young-uns know that America didn't always have an unsustainable debt, or nightly shootings in every large city. These cultural traits are Johnny-come-lately events. They cannot be allowed to continue if we "hope" to survive!

P.S. Two weeks ago I said that I wanted to review the book "A Slobbering Love Affair" (the story of the media's man-crush on Mr. Oboma). I not only haven't gotten around to it yet, but I misidentified the author. It's by Bernard Goldberg, but I said Ben Stein (haha). I guess it was a Freudian slip; I had an aunt who was married to a Stein.

Nevertheless, I still plan to review it. For a couple of weeks though, I plan to post summer reruns — some of my classic columns such as "College Orientation Week 101."

More to come.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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