- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2011

We are fast becoming a nation where convenience and ease surpass ingenuity, creativity and even stubborn “Yankee pride.” And I’ve got news for you: There isn’t a thing wrong with pride when it is funneled into creative channels.

America did not rise to the top by taking orders or being led around by the nose. We got there by breaking the Old World molds of complacency and rejecting the status quo. Being pushed around and accepting leadership from a few who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag is hardly a matrix for success or longevity.

Our Founders clawed their way across forests and deserts, forged roads of steel and concrete, built industries out of nothing and never admitted defeat - regardless of the size and verbosity of their foe.

So what happened? When did we surrender our God-given mandate to lesser entities? When did we find it easier to follow than to lead, and why have we taken a back seat to mediocrity instead of being front-row-and-center upon the world stage?

We are still Americans, and we are made of the right stuff. Taking orders from weak individuals merely because of title, connections or indoctrination is not what made people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony or Franklin Delano Roosevelt great. Those people led by example, not dictate alone. Occasionally, we forget that being an American is not all cakes and ale, but rather requires mutual sacrifice, unity of cause and even the spilling of our blood when necessary. Thank God, however, that our forebears placed the good of the many far above the lust of the few.

H. RICK TAVARES

Campo, Calif.