Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nie Nie's America

We teach our kids in school that “divine right” was a blasphemy that everyone always knew was wrong and oppressive. It kept the rich in power and the poor enslaved. The truth is, however, that almost everyone in the western world thought it the natural order or humanity until just before the American Revolution. When the American Revolution ended in success, Europe, and the entire civilized world, watched closely.

Can you understand why they thought our “experiment” was doomed to failure? People are stupid they would have said. They make poor choices they would have added. They pointed to Greece and Rome as examples of what happened when a people were free to express and govern themselves. Monarch and thinker alike feared the inevitable plunge into madness and chaos that never came.

Why didn’t it come? Why didn’t our fledgling nation tare itself apart in violent convulsions? Well … there were a lot of reasons. Some of them are cultural, others are institutional and some are… Stephanie. I’ll explain.

I came home one day and my wife was crying while reading something on the internet. Being the caring husband I am, I went over to ask her what was wrong. She had heard about a couple from Arizona that had recently been in a plane crash. The husband was badly burned, the wife was worse off.

After finding the blog, my beautiful wife had gone back and read their history, got to know the family. She told me who they were, where they came from (the wife, Stephanie, was from Provo). My wife told me of their incredible love affair and the husband’s penchant for learning to fly. She told me of how the husband wanted to fly out of town to get his wife a pair of shoes as a gift. To be extra sure all went well, they had the husband’s flight instructor fly the plane.

Tragedy struck on their way home. The engine died and they crashed. The pilot died. The couple was thrown from the wreckage and badly burned. She was burned over 83% of her body. Her heart failed twice on the way to the hospital and the rescuers brought her back both times.

There in the hospital, their burns were so extensive doctors decided to put them both in chemical induced comas.

The woman’s sister started posting on the family blog as a way of updating friends and relatives, and that’s about the time my wife saw it for the first time. She and I both watched that blog on a daily basis for the next five months. We shed tears at tales of their children staying with family and memories of the couple, and prayed for them.

Near the end of that time, Mr. Nielson (the husband) awoke. He demanded to see his wife and to speak to her. There he pored out his heart to his lover and willed her out of her sleep.

That’s all well and good. That alone was worth the tears we shed for them. It was a story of tragedy and personal loss. What has happened since then, however, is what brightens my world.

You see, the real story isn’t that Stephanie woke up and lived. It’s that she has to fight on a daily just to get out of bed or to kneel in prayer and is not giving up. Think of being her. She can’t sleep at night now sometimes. She has to have somebody come to her home several times a week and stretch her skin for her. She routinely goes back in for surgery. She wakes up on a daily basis in so much pain she winces and cries. Stephanie used to take pictures of herself all the time and thought herself beautiful, now she can’t stand to look herself in the mirror.

Why doesn’t she curse God and die? Why doesn’t she give up? I admit, I’m not sure. There is something about her that wills to fight on. She routinely comments on her blessings and the necessity of going through “tribulations”.

I have no doubt but that she will overcome this particular tribulation. I have no doubt but that one day, I’ll look on her website and see a new picture of her smiling.

I admire her very much, but Stephanie isn’t unusual. She’s a normal woman fighting her own goliath. Your local newspaper covers such stories regularly and I’d even be willing to bet that you know someone who’s fighting a similar uphill fight.

With that knowledge in mind, why do we need government to fix our bad mortgages? Tell me why it is that our politicians talk to us like we’re children and pander and patronize our every whim? Why? Because we let them.

The human race is capable of so much more. The freer we are, the more we can overcome. We are not weak, we do not need a hand up from the Government! In the long hours of the night when we can’t sleep and scream in pain, we are then in our finest hour. It is then that our spirit rises and fights. Only after such hours, alone in the dark, do we become stronger and more capable.

We conservatives believe in you. We didn’t need the government to bail us out and we surely don’t need them to take our money to spend it wisely. If there’s someone in my neighborhood that’s going to lose their house, I’m willing to help out in any way I can.

The human spirit is capable of so much more than our current generation of politicians think. While I am nervous over the current state of our nation, we have not gone so far down the path of degradation of the human spirit that we can’t recover at any time. We are still the freest nation on the earth.

Our experiment is a success so far. The next time you hear the talking heads question the validity of our capitalistic institutions, think of Stephanie. With people like Stephanie out there, do we really need someone to try and fix it all for us? We conservatives don’t think so.

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