Our America is slipping away. This is something that this author has known since his primary grade school days! Now, this author doesn’t mean to imply that he could have described the details, or, that he fully understood, what he was seeing. But I saw!
Living on a country road, in Northern Maine, was our close neighbor, Mr. Peter Augustine. Peter was of the Mic Mac tribe of American Indians. He worked for a local farmer, Victor Kitchem, as farm manager. Part of his pay included a house he lived in, with his wife and three children. My family was friendly with all of them. One summer, I saw something. Although I didn’t fully realize, until later, socialism was going on. All I knew was that Peter Augustine would, invariably, walk toward town, past our house, and screaming that he was going away, and never coming back. His story was this, as a Mic Mac, he was expected to house any and all fellow Mic Mac’s that came through town. Not only house, but feed and entertain them. He was going broke, as there was a reservation nearby, and he was the patsy for all who “wanted a vacation.” Imagine, you supplied all the food, provided the car of which you were expected to keep the tank full of gas for them and a roof over their heads. It was a continual struggle for him, but ultimately, he persevered, and stayed.
That shadow show became crystal clear, once I went to college and wrote a term paper on some of the socialist communities in America. I learned of New Harmony in Indiana; Fruitland at Harvard, Mass.; Oneida, in upstate New York; and many others. Socialism was made real to me, by the experience of my neighbor. Now, I understood, what I had seen at such a young age.
Another telling moment in my life was the shorter story of David Baston. He was a truck driver and father of one of my classmates in our small town. On one occasion, I overheard Mr. Baston telling of his experience with his new (to him) dump truck. He was telling of how, once it was filled, he would be the first out of the pit. Then, he said, every one would beat him out on the open road. Speed was important to him. You know, the more trips, the more money. He just couldn’t understand the lack of power. And then he said, he discovered “a governor” had been installed by the previous owner, in his truck, to limit the top speed. And that’s how I internalized the lesson that government serves as that “governor.” Government stalls out activity. Performers just melt away. Why produce in the face of artificial barriers placed to impede you?
Misuse of History
Early on, as an example, I saw “history” misused! Newsweek magazine had done a favorable special on the, even then, occurring transformation of history textbooks for the schools. So I wrote a “letter” to the magazine, which they published, in their May 20, 1968, page 9, issue. This is that published letter: “Your concern seems to be for a balanced picture of the African American in our history rather than his present exclusion. And yet your examples of efforts to correct this with more emphasis on the African American have swung the balance the other way. The question, I think, is historical accuracy, not reconstruction of prominent social attitudes. The latter would be overstepping the boundaries of one’s position and, in fact, using school to sponsor the reform of society. Nelson A. Pryor, Alburg High School, Alburg, Vt.” Little did I know, as a teacher, what our schools would become!
Winston Churchill on Preparedness
Churchill, in his book: The Gathering Storm, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1948. P. 348, tells us how the fire never goes out. “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not to costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be even a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.”
That’s My Story
As a once member of the New Hampshire legislature, I truly had internalized and lived that state’s motto “Live Free or Die!” And my life has been spent, like today, always thanking America.