America should learn from Pilgrims' story

Jan. 6, 2014 at 4:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 5, 2014 at 7:06 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

Many of you may know the story of the Pilgrims' first year in America. I believe it's worth revisiting their story to help us reflect on the current state of America.

Why does history repeat itself? Why haven't we learned from the lessons of the past? The Pilgrims started out with the intentions of creating a communal society in which every citizen received the same share of rations despite their effort. This idea of communal property led many to demonstrate poor work ethic and poach more than their share of rations.

The Pilgrims almost starved their first year on the new frontier. Governor Bradford recognized the faults of this societal structure and deeded each family their own private property to cultivate the land and feed their families. The Pilgrims' economy flourished. Their new society created capitalism and prosperity and led to our sustainability as a free nation. It revealed that hard work leads to independence.

What direction is our nation headed? Why is there a sense of entitlement in our country? Where is our Governor Bradford? Where are our elected officials who vow to protect the integrity of our country, our way of life? Have they read the Pilgrims' story?

Communal property and the redistribution of wealth didn't work then, and it won't work now. Prosperity occurs when people have an incentive to succeed and are invested in their future. Otherwise, why work harder?

Abraham Lincoln said it best when he declared:

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."

Pray for America. We need it now more than ever.

Paula Grahmann, Hallettsville



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