Lewis and Clark, with the company of Sacagawea, scaled the U.S. from east to west on foot, Francis Marion navigated through the South by swamps in the Revolutionary War and Confederate and Union soldiers ate their boots in the 1860s when they were short on food.
Whether we’re talking about Theodore Roosevelt and his volunteer Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War or the American women who took to the factories during WWII and saved domestic industry in a time of conflict, we can draw one common conclusion: Americans are tough. Or at least we were.
So, what on Earth happened? How did we, as a nation, go from threatening the British with a revolt if they continue to tax us without representing us to whining to each other about “micro aggressions”? How did we go from the “Join or Die” country to the politically correct country? Many people think that we’ve improved in this sense. Those same people are probably already offended 160 words into this article. But back to the question. How did we get so … wimpy?
In my opinion, it’s because we’re spoiled. Our Founding Fathers established an impeccable government with the longest-lasting current and active constitution in the world. The U.S. is the most free, powerful and legitimate nation on earth.
If you live here, you’re already wealthier than a vast amount of people. In fact, this is the only country on the planet where somebody can own a car, have running water and a house and still call themselves ‘poor.’ We’re spoiled. Growing up, nobody liked the spoiled kid who got everything that he or she wanted. They pitched fits on a daily schedule and had a temper greater than that of Xerxes. On a very micro level, this represents our population perfectly — a population who thinks they deserve government welfare and a population who refuses to let words roll off of their back.
As an American today, you must be accepting of everyone, you must use the proper pronouns, adjectives and verbs and you must not assume anything based on physical appearance, not even based on the biological evidence of gender. You must not hurt anybody’s feelings and you must not be a devout Christian or show any signs of traditional behavior for that matter.
Let’s now imagine a scenario where this isn’t the case. Imagine a population that minds their own business. Imagine a population that takes insults and rude gestures with a grain of salt. Imagine a population that is more tough than pretty. I saw a glimpse of this growing up in the deep South, and honestly, it’s kind of nice.
Coming from a place where every morning during the winter we would trudge through the swamp in hip boots with a chains of dead ducks hanging from our guns, it was definitely a culture shock to be surrounded by people who panic when they get mud on their white Vans. Especially when they’re men. But as I was saying, imagine a culture that is, in general, tougher. A culture where somebody can take criticism, pick themself up and get back at it. A culture this rugged and conditioned isn’t that far-fetched, either. In fact, this is what America looked like when we had pride. When we were great. Granted, we have made significant progress with legislation like the 19th Amendment and movements like in the 1960s, when civil rights were at the forefront of the nation.
However, just because we have made so much social progress doesn’t mean we should lose our dignity and structure. Men can be masculine, women can be feminine and we can all still be tougher than we are. We can all be kind and still be tougher than we are because in all honesty, we aren’t tough. Not one bit.
At the end of the day, we are a nation of soft people. There are some people left, however, that are blue-collar, rough-riding Americans and I pray that they lead the way for our future.
So in the meantime, if you’re reading this, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and next time someone offends you, look them in the eyes and laugh. Toughen up America, the world needs us.