In my opinion
Would founders view America as a car wreck?
I lost control of my 2005 Chevy Impala on 140th Rd. on my way to fireworks Friday at Aulne Church and landed in a ditch.
Within minutes, a van parked next to my car, and a man in his late 20s came out to see whether I was all right. (I was. I was just incredibly shaken.) He and his wife offered me a ride to the church and help finding a truck to tow my car.
I shared the backseat with their young son, who was caught off-guard by a 20-year-old stranger suddenly sitting next to him but said, “Hi!” and pretty quickly resumed fidgeting with a rubber toy.
We got to the church after a minor parking struggle. The wife wrangled her father and his feed truck. They went out with a friend and a chain borrowed from the church to tow my car.
A Jeep loaded with people stopped to watch while they were finding a place to hook the chain to my plastic-shelled car. My Impala came out of the ditch with nothing to show but a massive patch of caked dirt and grass on the front bumper and an S-shape carved into the dusty road. At the sight of it, the Jeep driver called out, “Nobody’ll ever know!”
After the fiasco, I asked an assortment of congregation members a question.
“Do you think America’s founders would be proud of the country today?”
It had an obvious answer for a lot of people.
Heather Mueller: “No, because they’re not following the Bible.”
Ivor Frazier: “I think they’d be very concerned. We’re headed in the wrong direction.”
Noah Stauffer: “No. Abortion’s legal, for one. Gun rights are being trampled, and we had a phony election last year.”
J.D. Bauman: “No. It was founded on God in the Constitution, and you don’t see much of that nowadays.”
Pastor Jeff Lee: “No. I think we’ve stepped away from the intent, which governs us. It’s not all bad, I love America. It’s just not in the intent.”
The question received not-so-obvious answers from others.
Ian Hartley: “No. The way they built the country is not the way it is being run. It’s changed in some ways. Their right to bear arms was different than now — black powder rifles instead of assault rifles. It’s just different.”
Jane Johnson: “No, but I think they’d be shocked at the way the world is today.”
Janet Thornhill: “Definitely parts of it. Stuff like this, getting together to celebrate our freedom.”
As I watched the car that took me to high school, college, and most of the way to Aulne get pulled out of the weeds in exchange for nothing besides good faith, I felt something closer to the second set of answers. Help thy neighbor, or in this case help thy journalist who doesn’t know how fast to drive on dirt roads, is alive.
The founding fathers would be proud of at least that piece of their intention lasting this long.