Nothing In Common (Chapter 13 - The End) unedited

 Chapter 13: ‘Linking Us Together’



The values linking us together in America were timeless, and part of an unending chain, binding us together with the strength of their connection. It was a connection based on values, and those values were shared. As tough and confusing as life sometimes got, these links were a safe haven and connection to all that was good and right. 


Team Sports were a living embodiment of these chains.  When everyone was acting together in unison, agreeing on a plan or goal, the game had the best chance of being won.  If only one person decided to break away, go off-sides, commit a foul, or worse get thrown out of the game, the whole team suffered with victory lost.  In a negative way, this underscores the importance of a strong connection keeping the links intact for the objective to be met. 


It was only through strong links to each other that people survived the Great Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an ensuing and devastating World War, and its low point, The Holocaust.  Today, we are still dealing with the aftermath of 9/11.


 9/11 tragically pointed out that terrorists don’t only kill their sworn enemies … they kill indiscriminately!  In a dramatic statement of inhumanity, they tried to shock the world with their misguided and disconnected view of reality.  They profaned their allegiance to God by blaspheming him with their actions of despair and destruction.  They are links to a chain that is, at its end, connected to nothing, worshipping in many cases the same things they seek to destroy. Many of the 9/11 terrorists were out experiencing the worst of western culture, strip clubs etc., only days before they carried out the brutal attacks. 


The value chain of generations past was a mutually shared affirmation. It reinforced the idea that by living together we could prosper if our values were shared. Living this way in America, we overcame all obstacles for over 200 years.  When I was a kid, and we had a bad snowstorm, my parents would always put chains on the rear tires of their cars.  The chains would allow the slippery rubber tires to reconnect with the snowy surface of the road, digging in, and creating a ‘grip’ that bare tires could never provide.  This allowed my parents, and our neighbors, to resume their normal activities and turn what was a temporary setback into a small challenge to overcome.


These chains metaphorically point out the deep connection we used to have with each other.  When times got tough, we dug deep, finding the ‘chains’ within our own psyches to get us through the tough and challenging times.  The ‘chains’ were only as strong as our belief in them and what they could overcome. Strength was based on each link and how it would ultimately fit with other links in the chain that bound us all to each other.   It was this ‘connection’ that created our sense of community, and it spread from our families, to our neighborhoods, through our states, and ultimately across our nation.  I also believe when we were the strongest this chain spread worldwide linking America with the rest of the world — a connection that in many ways has either been broken or abandoned today.


With these ‘chains of connection,’ we were able to become something bigger than just ourselves and share in the true wonder of moving mountains together.  Whether it was creating the world’s greatest economy, national infrastructure with our great dams and highways, or curing many of the worst diseases that had plagued the world for generations, we attempted these things with a unity of purpose and shared in the pride of accomplishment once our efforts were done.  Most of these things could never have been done by individuals alone.  


Today, the celebration of division is killing America.  My generation kicked this into high gear with the mantra ‘do your own thing.’  Forty years later, we see what the result of doing your own thing has become.  What happened to ‘our thing?’ the spirit behind why men died at Valley Forge, Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Normandy, Mt. Suribachi, and the rice paddies of Vietnam.  Brave young men are still dying today in far off places like the deserts of the Middle East.  Are we supporting them in the same way we did their grandfathers and great grandfathers?  Do they fight with a clear vision and light heart knowing the country is of one mind and behind them until they come home?  Do they watch the evening news, seeing the protests and division that have driven America into a sectarian society.


Thank God, we still have men and women brave enough to go to these places finding something deep within themselves, and each other, to get the job done.  What the military has not totally abandoned is the spirit of connection that our country has lost.  These men are bound to each other in an ‘Esprit De Corps’ that transcends any politics or attempt to divide them.  They are sometimes forced to fight two wars — the one on the battlefield before them, and a second war of public opinion that no courageous soldier should ever have to endure.  


No country in the world has ever been 100% ‘right’ with a moral compass free of all blame.  That being said, no country in the world has ever been as right as ours. Democratic freedom, and its defense, is a shared idea. It’s been the defining link in our national chain from Lexington and Concord to the present day.  


If we can’t agree on who we are, and what we are, the problem stays buried deep in what we have become. We need to look inside ourselves and admit to the emptiness we feel. We can only fill that emptiness by acting together. An 8-ounce glass of water has little power, but magnified 300 million times, it turns into a powerful force that can wash over us all.    


I am here today because of what so many men and women gave their lives for over the past 250 years.  I am writing this, in a fervent attempt, to reconnect us to our American Core Values and to each other.  Together, we can reconnect the links in the great ‘Chain of Unity’ that, up until recently, defined us as a nation.  I write with the hope that sacrifices made in its defense, and its shared value system of Freedom & The Individual Rights of Man, were not in vain.    




  Kurt Philip Behm: May, 2024







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