An Essay By Ed Decker
As I look back on almost 88 years of life, it is getting harder and harder to remember when America was once the leader of the free world. Its freedom and prosperity had people across the globe looking at it as one of the greatest places on earth.
The America of today would be as unrecognizable as an outer space invasion to those of us who lived the years I have lived. I can’t hardly imagine what my father or grandfather would say if they were alive today! Actually I do, they’d say Lord Help Us and leave me in heaven!
We began as a nation of immigrants, mostly from the European nations and the British Isles.
My father’s family came to America in the mid-1700s from Holland and Germany. I grew up on the family farm that was home to generations of Decker’s before me.
My mother’s Jewish family immigrated in the late-1800s from Russia, escaping slavery and death in what has been called the First Holocaust. The majority of the rest of her family died in the German Extermination camps during the Second World War.
This evil was not just part of my mother’s family history but went back to before the Civil War in the Catskill Mountains. As a child, I sat and wept at the table in the secret room in our barn where escaping slaves stayed while awaiting the guide for the next leg of their trip on the Underground Railroad. My fore-bearers risked being burned out or killed for their stand against slavery.
We were then and still are a nation of immigrants, but those days were times of learning to live and interact with many people groups and settling in as simply, Americans.
We fought together in the same trenches of two major world wars and proudly saluted the flag. I remember the Fourth of July parades and picnics in my small country village. There were no strangers or protesters back then.
I went to a one-room schoolhouse where the only teacher, Mrs. Jones, taught all eight grades, one row at a time. We drank from a single bucket of well water, using the same dipper and nobody died. We used the outhouse out back, both summer and winter. In the fall, our families filled the wood-bins for the potbellied stove in the middle of the room.
Ed and his sisters Nancy (older) and Judy (baby)
An old man from the farm next to the school would have the stove up and pouring out heat when we children and our teacher would show up for classes. I no longer remember his name, but he was there every morning. Faithful; always smiling.
Every Sunday, our small country church would be filled with all our neighbors, many of the men coming straight from the barns in their work clothes.
When I was growing up, we had a wall-mounted phone that you cranked to get the local operator. I would just give the name of the person I wanted to speak with, and she would connect us.
I saw my first TV when I was a teenager. It was a giant box with a 13-inch round, Black and white screen filled with “snow’. Only the wealthy had the color TVs that began to show up around the time when I was finishing high school.
Only a small number of graduates went on to college. When I went to a State College, my annual tuition was around $200.00. Now my grandchildren are looking at yearly costs that exceed what I paid for my first house!
Divorce was rare and abortion was almost unheard of. Most families prospered and enjoyed the life of a full family of parents and kids. Families took care of the needy and elderly. The same statistics were true for Black families where up until the mid-sixties, 78% were two-parent families living together. Today, it is closer to 25%. Today, approximately 50% of White families are single-parent families, with a divorce rate of just under 50%.
*Exact and detailed statistics are available on the web. Just google the data you want deeper information on.
Because my father had become a welder in the shipyards on the Hudson River, we moved to Jersey City, N. J. where I was electrified by the crowds of people, the clanging trolleys, and the horse-drawn carts selling ice for the city’s many iceboxes.
I remember the movies for fifteen cents and the serials afterward, like Tom Mix and The Lone Ranger. I tried to go only when there was a double feature. I watched the paper boys on every busy corner hawking the Jersey Journal. And no- I didn’t fit into the teenage lifestyles there and at first, found myself like a stranger in a strange land. I never did get a duck haircut or pegged pants. When we first moved to the city, I wore the knickers that were my everyday pants in the country. Needless to say, I did not set a fashion trend. Nor did my knee-high socks.
On Sunday, December 7th, 1942, we were coming home from a visit with friends in my father’s 1938 Ford Model A sedan when we heard on the tinny-sounding radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese. I can still see my mother gasp and cry in the front seat while my father was trying to comfort her. Across the nation, preparation for war began the next day.
Ed as a young teen.
My father tried to enlist along with thousands of local men but was turned down because he was a welder in the shipyards. He became our Neighborhood Air Raid Warden. We lived with our windows that were blacked out and used ration books for food and gas and practiced going into the Air-raid shelters. Dad’s car had the top half of the headlights painted black to keep from alerting enemy aircraft.
And I remember the joy and collective celebrations going on at Journal Square in the city center in 1945 at the end of the war. That was a special time for our nation, we were a united people back then, but there were dark sides to the panic that set in and one of them was the Presidential Executive Order in 1942 to relocate and incarcerate 125,000 Japanese individuals, two-thirds of whom were American citizens, until the order was rescinded in the fall of 1945. One of my school friends and his family were taken away to such a camp in the south. It is just one of the many stories of American history. None of my Italian or German friends received any such treatment.
Of course, we were birthed in a society that saw nothing wrong in slavery. It was a world-wide system. Our history with the Blacks, the Native Americans, and the slavery of the early Irish are things we as a nation must carry the guilt for and repent.
I grew up hearing about trains filled with Orphans given away at train stations throughout the Midwest. Almost in the same manner as did the slave auctions of earlier times. Most of these children ended up as slaves to farmers and ranchers. That program ended as the Great Depression set in.
The Second World War also brought together both American Blacks and American Whites fighting side by side in the same units and in the same foxholes in vastly larger numbers; greater than any earlier war. It was the beginning of many inner personal battles as these men worked out their own prejudices. It was a difficult and different type of battle when they came home. But it was the start.
It wasn’t just Blacks. Soldiers bringing home Japanese war brides faced the same discrimination that took a generation and more to end. It was 20 more years of marches and protests that finally brought us the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Interracial marriage was another taboo that had to fight its way to the surface and be dealt with and it is hard to imagine what these couples went through.
What was meant to draw us all together in 1964 as one nation for all didn’t work for many and today, we are a nation of division, with anger, and hatred preached in the streets and taught in schools and universities to the point that our nation is as divided on race as deeply as during the civil war days.
I have been told that merely because I am a white man, I am a racist by birth and if I would try to defend myself, it then is proof that I am a racist. That, notwithstanding that my father’s heritage has been that of an abolitionist family for generations. I look at my mother’s heritage of victim-hood and genocide.
Today, the State of California and cities like San Francisco are actually considering trying to give Black residents huge amounts of money, totaling in the billions out of the need to atone for ancestral slavery and white privilege. I have yet to see any of the Japanese who actually were in American prison camps or the Irish or the American natives ask for their share. This is something that will destroy America.
Ed Decker when he was a young teen
I grew up in poverty and yet I was taught that if I wanted something, I had to personally earn it. Christmas was a few pairs of underwear or socks. Any toys were handmade by my own hands. I did not drop out of school like so many others did.
I worked a full 48-hour work week and still ended up 12th in my graduating class of over 200. And I left with an appointment to Annapolis. But that’s another story.
That was the world of my youth and early years. We are now a nation focused on division rather than national and personal unity and equality. We bend at every accusation of intolerance, even intolerance of sin and evil. We bow down to the accusers from every deviant section of society.
Even large sections of the church have fallen into self-love and sin. Pastors have become self-adoring actors and millionaires while churches have become places of numbers and business and profit. The Prosperity Movement has made millionaires out of the leaders and the faith of its followers as determined by “giving until it hurts.”
I find it hard to point out the errors of the cults when I see such rampant sin and self-serving within and throughout the Christian churches. So many have turned from the cross and now teach that our truth can be what we want it to be, what our feelings say rather than what the Word says. Thank God for our righteous pastors and churches.
We are told from every direction that we are bigots not to accept as fact that a man can become a woman and a woman a man merely by them declaring it so. Forget that such things are biologically false and totally impossible. I have yet to see DNA proof for any of this transgender nonsense even when the declarer undergoes surgery to remove any outer evidence of his/her true gender.
The thing that bothers me is that it is being taught and affirmed in the earliest years of our children’s lives. Even the apostate Christian churches of America not only go along with such things but embrace them, smugly standing against God’s Word in the matter. Our public school system has thrown out the reason for its existence and is now a place where our children are groomed for perverse purposes.
We are no longer one nation under God, but one nation under demonic attack. Rev. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse and of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, addressed the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Orlando, Florida, on Monday, May 22, and proclaimed Every ‘demon from hell’ has been ‘turned loose’ in society
God’s Word says that we are of one blood, across all nations and every people group. He gave his son, Jesus as the ransom for each of us. He loves each of us. He died for all of us, not just some. All. We need to bring America and the church back to the roots from which we came and do good, not evil in his eyes.
We need to look at everyone and every act of society through the eyes of Jesus. He even loves the people who hate and despise and seek to destroy. We need to be filled with His love and we need to be accountable to Him for what we do with our lives.