Some Haggard thoughts on this 9/11

Five years after 9/11 seems like a good day to reflect on just where our country is and where it is going.

Someone who seems to have a handle on the situation we are in today is Merle Haggard. Yes, the man who wrote “We don’t wear our hair all long and shaggy/Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.” Hey, a person has a right to their point of view, even if it changes or mellows out after awhile. If this wasn’t the case, Neil Young would not still be on the music scene or at least relevant.

While surfing the other night I came across Merle’s Web site. Click on it and you will hear the song playing that illustrates the “Hag’s” reflection of just what has happened to the United States over the past few years in a song called: “America First.”

“Our highways and bridges are falling apart
Who’s blessed and who has been cursed
There’s things to be done all over the world
But let’s rebuild America first …

“Yea, men in position but backing away
Freedom is stuck in reverse
Let’s get out of Iraq and get back on the track
And let’s rebuild America first.”

Maybe Hag’s point of view is a little simplistic but more is there than meets the eye.

Parts of the Gulf Coast in this country remain in ruins after devastating storms such as Katrina, Rita and even from those storms before the nightmare 2005 hurricane season. It’s also not hard to find people who are needy in our own nation. These are not just those homeless folks with scraggly beards and dirty clothes. They include the college-educated, career men and women who were laid off after corporations restructure in order to realize bigger profits.

Maybe our nation’s attitude about personal worth is a hangover from our early colonial days. But poverty seems to be the old, derelict uncle we don’t like to talk about. It is like one is unvirtuous, a heathen, infidel, or is some sort of misfit or the other if he or she is impoverished in our society.

The great philanthropists in the world — some of the largest being Americans such as Bill Gates — should rightly be lauded for helping make our planet a better place at large. But taking care of our own poor, or about to be poor, is often left to various church organizations which most often operate on a shoestring.

So Hag’s point of view might be simplistic, but I think he hits a strong note about our own people needing liberation. It’s a great country, so why not help America first?

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