[PART TWO] “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America

My Fellow Americans (see what I did there?),

I get a lot of views on this blog from people around the world. I just want to clarify that I don’t have a problem with people from other places. We are all God’s children. I admire aspects of other cultures. But I am proud to be an American, and I want to do my part to make it the best it can be. I think that that greatness will in turn make the world a better place. That being said, here are some recommendations for things that Americans can do for their country.

1. Buy American

From what I’ve heard, the most common reasoning for not buying American is the cost. If you buy things made in China or wherever, it may be cheaper, yes, but it still comes at a price. Commerce with other countries opens up the potential for reliance on other countries. I’m all about self-reliance, so I would think it would be better to be able to be more dependent on our own manufacturers, our own workforce as a whole, to generate the goods we need to get buy. Sure, it might cost a little more in the short term, but the nature of supply and demand and the capitalist system in general will drive prices down once we’ve make the investment in and the commitment to American Enterprise.

Also, you get what you pay for. In the triangle of cost, quality and time, you lose quality when you get it fast and cheap. If you’re willing to pay and wait, you can get something that will last longer. I don’t know why, but ballpoint pens stick out in my mind. If you buy a hundred cheapo stick pens, before long you’re going to wind up with a hundred cheapo stick pens that don’t work. If you spend the extra money on a pen and you keep track of it, you’ll spend less in the long run and you won’t have a pile of worthless pens laying around. I don’t know about you, but I hate when I pick up a pen thinking it’ll work and it doesn’t. It’s infuriating. Moving on.

The same goes for just about anything. Meat, produce, clothes. Support American Ranchers and Farmers. A word of caution on the clothes, though. I used to be a Levi’s man. They were the only pants I ever wore. At 6’5″ and 250 lbs. it’s hard to find pants that work, but for a while they were doing the trick. Somewhere in there, they stopped making them in America, or I began to realize that they weren’t being made in America. It was right around the time that the starting splitting in the crotch area after not having them for very long. Like I said, I used to be a Levi’s man. Now I wear Dickies. Born in Texas, made in Texas by Texans. Damn straight. 

Overall, just know what you’re buying, demand more from the producer, and buy American. I understand that you may not be able to buy everything and that nothing happens overnight. I also understand that there are many high quality items that come from other countries (Japanese knives come to mind), but just be more conscientious and explore an American alternative. You may be surprised what you can find. 

2. Complain Less

Nobody’s perfect. European countries aren’t perfect and they’ve been doing this a lot longer than we have. Our country isn’t even 250 years old and we’re still doing a damn good job of making it happen.

I know you probably don’t have everything you want in life. I know that things are hard sometimes and it seems like you can’t get a leg up. Trust me. I know this. But it’s not America’s fault and chances are it’s nobody else’s. Things happen. Choices are made and they don’t always work out. What are you going to do about it? Play the blame game or get back to work? If you get a flat tire, you fix it and get back on the road. Complaining about it won’t take the nail out or put the spare on. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.

I saw some statistic recently about the amount of time the average person spends complaining each day. Like nine minutes. Imagine how much more you could get done if you spend that hour a week doing something productive. You could start a blog. You could do any of the Five Minute Betterment exercises on this blog. Or, if you’re really that unhappy about the way the government is doing something, you could 

3. Become More Active in Your Community

Get out there and vote.  Or if you don’t think the candidate can do the job well, run for office yourself. Get involved in a charity at your church or with a non-profit that services a cause you care about. Or just go meet your neighbors. Build relationships and get to know the people around you. Make a change on a small-scale. The little things add up and you could wind up a part of something even larger. 

The internet (invented right here in America) has redefined what the word community means.  It has enabled us to connect to people great distances away without having to leave out homes or our hometowns. There is information and communication at our fingertips that was unimaginable fifty years ago.

Used correctly and responsibly, the internet can be a valuable tool in helping us to find out more about the people and things and businesses and places around us.  You can use it to find people who feel the same way you do or find out more about something. 

4. Learn More About The United States

The history books aren’t always accurate, but a lot of times the truth is much more interesting. We’ve done so much in our short time as a country, you could literally look up the History of American Anything and spend hours learning about how and why it started, changed, grew, or even failed on this soil.

Find out more about the people that have done the things that interest you.  Connect with others with the same interests in your town, state, or other parts of the country. Take a trip to a local historical site or plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been. Learn about the good and the bad. Find out what Americans have done wrong and what Americans have done or can do to fix it.  Most of us wouldn’t completely write someone without knowing the whole story. So learn the whole story. 

If you learn all you can and you’ve done all you can and you still don’t like it here, 

5. Move away

That may sound harsh, but it’s true.  If you truly think you’d be happier somewhere else, then go there.  You’re an American and you still have the freedom to leave. Maybe you’d prefer somewhere where they have Universal Everything. Maybe you’d like a different climate, or Communism, or another language or culture. That’s fine. Go ahead and go. You have that freedom here and it’s a beautiful thing. 

– –

In the end, you deserve to be happy. You deserve to pursue your happiness, but no one’s going to give it to you.  So get out there and do something that’ll make your life better and make our country and most likely the world better if only a little bit.

Use your freedom but take it for granted. Work hard and reap rewards.

God Bless America.

Patriotically

Glass

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[PART ONE] “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America

JFK.  Definitely one of my favorite presidents.  I did a nice homage to DDE a while back if you’re interested.  There’s just something captivating about the office of the President, and it’s always intrigued me.

I couldn’t be President, I can tell you that right now.  Definitely not in modern times.  All the news networks dissecting what you say and over-analyzing the minutia of your every action.  You know, it wasn’t always like that.  Sure, you’d hear him on the radio or see him on the TV, or read about him in the paper, but it didn’t seem so.. nit-picky.  People didn’t get their feelings hurt because they didn’t have time to. A hundred years ago, the world was in the throes of the Great War.  Fifty years ago was Civil Rights Movement.  This year?  The media is lambasting President Trump for getting an extra scoop of ice cream.  That’s not to say that there aren’t more important things going on.  THERE ARE.  But where is the attention paid?

Not totally unrelated, but the term ad hominem refers to a personal attack, or “attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.”  Apparently, there’s now a term called ad feminam  which appeals to prejudices about women.  Okay.  I’m going to come back to this, but there is something you need to know before I go on.  I am married.  My wife and I have two daughters.  We encourage them to do the activities they want to do.  Because this is America.  But they don’t get free reign over the whole house.  Because we’re still the parents.  Moving on.

I’d like to touch on another phrase now, from our very own Declaration of Independence: the Pursuit of Happiness. If you have time, I would suggest you Google the origins of the phrase. I know most people agree where Life and Liberty came from, but the old PoH is a more widely disputed nugget. Check it out. Life and Liberty are pretty straightforward in my mind. No one should end your life and no one should imprison your mind or your body.

These are part of the wealth of rights that as Americans are blessed with at birth. Rights that people in other countries aren’t. We can believe what we want, marry who we want, speak out against the things we don’t agree with, stand trial when we are accused of a crime.  The list goes on.  It is the government’s responsibility to protect those rights. But it is not the role of the government to provide.

I’ve talked about this before.  Charitable acts should come from charitable organizations. Not the government. When the government (or anyone else for that  matter) tries to make everyone happy, then no one is.  When the government removes itself from the daily and personal lives of it’s citizens, the citizens are free to, you guessed it, pursue their happiness. 

I know that the pursuit of happiness of not promised by the Constitution, but as a foundational and somewhat universal idea in our culture, I want to base the following notion off of it.  The PoH implies an action. Or rather, a lack of hindrance. The government will not stand in the way of you pursuing what makes you happy.  More importantly:

The government is not responsible for providing you with happiness.

Bold and italicized because I mean it. The government is too big and too focused on giving people things when we all were given one of the greatest gifts in the world: American citizenship. I understand that not everyone can break out of the situation that they were born into. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have the chance to. Hard work is a beautiful thing and it seems like a lot of people are more content to complain than to do something about it. See my previous post about hard work for examples. 

We take a lot for granted here and I feel like a lot of times we don’t give back. In fact, I feel like a lot of Americans speak badly about our Great Nation because they haven’t achieved their happiness. That’s not the government’s​ fault. And it’s not my fault either. Spend your time and energy not demanding what the government can do for you, but what you can do for yourself.  We’ll discuss next post what you can do for your country.

God Bless America.

With the rights granted to me as an American Citizen by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution I sign this

Freely,

David Glass

“Men have become the tools of their tools.” – Henry David Thoreau (Part One of Two)

[I like this quote because it is a warning against over-reliance on technology, but also a reminder that one’s tools are an extension of one’s body and should be treated thusly.  Meaning, to me, that you should invest in quality tools that will do the job the right way, and that more tools in your toolbox mean more jobs done well.  Think about it.]

If you read my post from about a week ago, you’ll know that the Family Glass and I have done quite a bit of travelling over the past couple of months.  We travelled something like 3600 miles over the past seven weeks or so, going as far north as Chicago, IL and as far South as South Padre Island, TX which some back and forth on I-35 and I-64 amongst others in there as well (Thanks again, Ike).

We had a great time.  We got to see a lot of America and spend a lot of time with our families.

That being said, it’s hard to be on the road.  When you’re away from headquarters, you don’t always have everything you need and it sucks to have to find and/or acquire new stuff and no one wants to spend money to buy something they already have.  And when you’re pulling up stakes and moving camp, it’s hard to have everything you need handy when you also need everything in boxes.

It was nice to have my Gerber multi-tool with me, and it has therefore become a part of my everyday carry (#EDC).

I actually, by a stroke of luck, found this while I was working at a used car dealership about 3 or 4 years ago.  The dealership would buy cars as trade-ins or at auction or have them shipped from other locations depending on supply and demand.  I found my Gerber in one of these cars that had come from somewhere else and had originally come from a third or even fourth location.  I mention this because I would have, under more reasonable circumstances, from a professional and personal standpoint, attempted to return it to its original owner.  Also, I technically shouldn’t have taken it from work, but if I hadn’t it would’ve gotten throw away and to have such a finely-crafted instrument cast out like common rubbish would have been a tragedy.  I accept the wrong that I’ve done, and I’ve made peace with it.

Moving on.

The multi-tool is mine now and it’s awesome.  As far as I can tell, it’s like twenty years old, but it still works like a charm.  I had it put away for the longest time but it has been super handy lately.  As you can see, it has: a saw, flathead screwdriver, phillips screwdriver, two-sided file (coarse and fine grit), knife, lanyard loop, large flathead, and bottle/can opener.  It also has blunt-nose pliers, wire cutters, 3 inch ruler, and 7 cm ruler.  Overall, a pretty impressive tool which, I discovered today, was the predecessor to the current Gerber 600 series.  In the past 2 months or so, I have used: the pliers to get stubborn nails out of the wall, the knife to open various boxes, the saw to tackle new growth branches that needed trimming, both sides of the file to fashion guitar picks out of a plastic spoon, both screwdrivers for various screws, and the bottle opener for opening beers, naturally.

I realize that this all sounds a little boastful, but the first, most obvious purpose here to recommend Gerber to anyone who is looking to buy a reliable multi-tool or knife.

[I also carry my Gerber Bear Grylls knife in my EDC, which is also the only knife that I’ve bought twice.]

The other purpose here, is a little more metaphorical.  So metaphorical, in fact, that I believe I’ll save it for my next post.  So, I’ll leave you here, with my recommendation and my blessing.

Functionally,

David Glass