Curtis Dahlgren
TWO AMERICAS?: "Can two walk together except they be agreed?"
By Curtis Dahlgren
October 14, 2011

"Every rod and staff of empire is truly crooked at the top." — Bacon

"THE WORDS OF AMOS, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel, two years before the earthquake." — Amos

What brought Amos to mind was our community's loss of a neighbor whose nickname was Amos. She died at a fairly young age, but since she, like me, was a dairy farm kid, she worked for almost 45 of her 49 years — as long as the average person who works from age 20 to 65. "Amos" started driving tractor at age 4 she said, while I didn't start doing that until age 5 (by age 6 I was driving a '32 Ford truck, and learned how to ride a bicycle at the age of seven).

Not to get too autobiographical, but for the benefit of those who are stuck in the '60s or '70s, it's very important for us geezers to explain — while we still can — how the culture of Americanism has been "degraded."

I lived in the country. Went to a one-room country school. Eight years, plus six weeks of kindergarten — during which the school taught us to read. The teacher never wasted time "reading to us." We read to the teacher. We didn't have a school psychologist, crossing guards, or playground supervisors. Shoot, we didn't even have a basketball, or Ritalin. But we learned how to read. Even the sort-of retarded kids, before political correctness came into play.

We took an eighth grade graduation test, on which I rated a grade-equivalent of 12th grade, first month. In "modern" times the kids get by with an 8th grade equivalency after 12 years of expensive education, plus a full year of kindergarten and maybe 4-year-old pre-school and state-sponsored day care. And the kids STILL can't read? What's wrong with this picture?

speaking of Amos, I want to make a couple of points about Israel and that opening quotation. A): Israel didn't have two kings; the 12 tribes had split into two separate kingdoms (and the issue that caused the split was high taxation!).

B): The Semitic tribes scattered abroad have survived a lot of bad kings. Down through time, if you scan the books of Kings or Chronicles, you will find (surprise, surprise) that they had a lot more bad kings than good ones — and it made a difference in how well things went for them (sometimes they were even given a bad king as "punishment").

You might say that the survival of Israel was sort of a reverse Darwinism; the "average" citizenry survived the elitist snobs who ruled with an iron fist. Baptized by fire, so to speak. And the prophet Amos was one of those redneck hicks who was both censored and censured by the "E"-lites! Amos had a way with words:

"Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice [and] it MAY be that the Lord will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph."

SO: "Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, 'Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words' . . . [and] Amaziah said to Amos, go, flee to the land of Judah, and prophecy there, but never again at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary . . .

"Amos says, 'I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock to go and prophecy to my people."

Every so often a Moses or an Amos, or maybe even an Amos Moses, comes along to do so. Thus, the people have — to borrow a word from Darwin — survived. Young people who say they're "bored" must not be following the news! Even full time news junkies can't keep up with everything going on, and the governments seem to be trying to overwhelm us. Every day there's a new scandal or end run around the Congress or the Constitution. We don't even have time to follow up on the outrage of the day before.

Michael Savage says that Iran could do in six minutes what Hitler failed to do in six years. And you're bored?

On this side of the Atlantic, things aren't exactly boring either. Things will probably get worse before better! In the Michael Savage newsletter, he says:

"The second Bolshevik Revolution is beginning in the United States of America, egged on by our first communist president and his cronies. His adviser David Axelrod is a lifetime street agitator, going back to their days together in Chicago.

"Obama is using the rabble in the gutters to draw attention away from the 'Fast and Furious' Mexican gunrunning scandal, and all the other scandals in this administration.

"The president and his friends are glad to deflect the anger of the people onto the so-called 'rich,' when in fact they are the rich.

"It was Wall Street and the banks that put Obama in the White House, as I explained in my previous book,
Trickle Up Poverty.

"The hedge-fund thieves who caused the collapse of the American economy and who ushered in Obama's reign of terror are the ones who should be attacked, not the ordinary small-business owner.

"The assets of these hedge fund thieves should be seized as illegitimately gained assets. The biggest fortunes in American history were made by betting against your mortgage.

"Some people made over a billion dollars while you lost your house.

"And most of them are Democrats."

P.S. Thanks for the guts, Michael, for standing up. If people won't listen to a country boy like me, maybe they'll start listening to a boy from the Bronx like Savage.

PPS: Speaking of the cities, Forbes recently listed "America's most dangerous" cities. Detroit had 345 murders in 2010, almost one every day, about a thousand in the three years prior to 2011. That's just one example. Just think if our military lost 1,000 soldiers in one city; you would be hearing a "holy" outcry — and not about "Wall Street"!

What is wrong with this picture? It couldn't be because of the cultural changes in America from 1950 to 2006, could it [I jest]?

In 1950 we recited the pledge of allegiance in school every day. When "under God" was added to it, none of us complained. I can't think of a single family in the school district that didn't belong to a church of some kind. The Bible Society handed out New Testaments to us in a public school. No one made a "Federal case" out of it.

Our highly-paid and over-educated "E"-lites can't see any connection between a wholly-secular culture and crime. VP Joe Biden blames the failure of the passage of the "Jobs bill" — which didn't even exist — for past rapes in Detroit. A little cognitive dissonance there, eh?

As I said, it's hard to keep up, let alone comment on all the news, but one thing to take note of and mark is the EEOC and the DOJ's lawsuit against the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran church. The feds are trying to tell them who they can hire and fire, or "call" and un-call.

In other words, this country has absolute separation of "church and state" except in cases where the government wants to interfere with a religion.


, and one other thing; Amos ended his book on a positive note:

"I will shake the House of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall upon the earth . . .

"In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that are called by MY NAME, says the Lord."


© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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