by State Rep. Randy Armstrong
My neighbor was looking for something to buy his dog for Christmas and asked for my help. He couldn’t decide between a fleece sweater, flannel pajamas or a reversible vest. The precious puppy already has multiple shoes, a Star Wars hoodie and a red cable knit jacket. We live in a time of difficult choices.
What a miraculous era to be an American. We are so preposterously prosperous that we buy our pets Christmas gifts. We have pet health insurance plans and pet burial contracts. If you were living in Venezuela right now, having a healthy pet would conjure up images of fat sizzling on the barbeque.
“That’s a nice looking Shih Tzu you just obtained. What does he taste like?”
“Not sure, but I’ll know this evening!” as saliva drools down his chin.
There is nothing wrong with your bulldog owning dapper duds, but you must also recognize the absurdly auspicious era in which we live. Speaking of unnatural prosperity leads me to the concept of professional athletes; particularly football players. We pay oddly skilled individuals hundreds of millions of dollars for abilities that 200 years ago couldn’t get them a ham sandwich. Are we an unrealistically wealthy society or what?
In the 1200s how would a beefy linebacker contribute to society? Other than splitting wood with his forehead, I’m not sure. And yet today we allow them to speak to our culture, our traditions and even our patriotism. If you had been aggressively hitting your head against an immovable object, year after year, season after season, since you were seven years old, how clear would your reasoning be?
Don’t blame them if they get it wrong. We, as overly rabid fans, have created this monster. They think they are invincible, smarter than virtually anyone. And maybe they are. With nothing more than a narrow and quirky skill-set they are on the very highest rung of wage earners. Tom Brady is a marvelous quarterback, but I’m not sure he’d be much help in my garden; or changing my tire; or programming my iPod.
Their actions are an annoyance, but that won’t change the love I have for my country.
Never in the history of this giant planet has anyone lived as comfortably as us. It’s inspiring to consider our surroundings.
Someone asked me recently where I derive my inspiration. I thought long and hard on this. Of course I get inspired when I attend church. I am always inspired when I go to a funeral, it forces me to take inventory on my own life and see where I’m lacking. I find reliable inspiration in the scriptures.
But I never fail to be almost overwhelmingly inspired when I walk into a Walmart. As goofy as it sounds, I sometimes get actual tears in my eyes as the doors magically open and I reverently walk in. Try it yourself, walk to the middle of the store, gaze in every direction. Look at the massive variety of things. And virtually everything priced within my own meager budget.
Pharaohs of Egypt would be stunned to see this accumulation in one small space. Caesar could summon all day long and not have a fraction of the goods that we have access to. Henry VIII had lots of wives but never the selection of unlimited goodies that I have. Not one of the billions and billions of people who lived on this earth prior to my birth had anything close to what I casually have at my local store. If you can’t get yawning, even stunning inspiration in Walmart – you are one calloused individual.
So during this special Thanksgiving season think of the wondrously prosperous country in which we live. If you see your favorite, clueless football player taking a knee, don’t get angry or frustrated, just walk quietly into your closet and take two knees; thank your Heavenly Father for a spectacular country where we can actually accommodate pampered pets, pandered professional athletes and wondrous Walmarts.
When my neighbor walks by with his strutting Chihuahua, dressed resplendently in his natty red vest and matching shoes, I won’t follow my first inclination, which is to laugh uproariously, but I will stand a little straighter, place my hand firmly over my heart, and thank God that I am an American.
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