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Misty-eyed patriot left to wonder what's gone wrong

By ROBERT E. NELSON

Publication: The Day

Published July 22. 2013 4:00AM

I must admit, I'm an unabashed patriot. I get tears in my eyes when I hear "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful." I have trouble singing our National Anthem without my voice breaking.

The 4th of July is a favorite day for me. On that day this summer, as I enjoyed all the celebrations presented on TV and in town, I reflected on what a wonderful human experiment is the United States. It is a nation ruled by the citizens who have the ability to take to task those people they selected to run their affairs; a nation that recognizes that all people are created equal with unalienable rights granted by a higher a power than themselves.

But, for the first time, I feel a sense of unease and trepidation. Are we still models of what our Founding Fathers created? They created a system of checks and balances, a three-legged stool designed to see that no single element of government could take undo control. Is our stool beginning to wobble off kilter?

Do we have an executive branch exceeding its constitutional powers? Do we have a judicial branch legislating from the bench instead of just interpreting the Constitution? Do we have a legislative branch so divided that it is impossibly deadlocked and unable to function effectively?

However, what might concern me even more than the workings of our government are our citizens. I seriously question the values and morals that seem to prevail in our current culture. The lack of any sense of personal responsibility for one's actions or well being. It appears as if the word "responsibility" has been deleted from our dictionaries.

The fact that religion, and its values and morals, have been effectively washed out of the public domain concerns me. The sense of community and the concern by individuals for the welfare of one another is lessening.

Has the "tyranny of the majority" been replaced by the "tyranny of the minority"? There is such a viciousness and anger in our public discourse that real thought has little chance to change one's view in civil manner.

I hope it's not too late to change our perspective and save this great nation, but I worry for my children and my grandchildren.

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