On July 4, 1776, we announced our independence from Britain and the Republic was born. That Republic has brought its citizens incredible wealth and freedom. This idea of freedom and the right to pursue ones dreams has attracted millions in search of their dream. Yet this cornucopia of wealth has also caused huge social changes.

No longer does almost everyone have to work as the wealth is so great that now only one bread winner is needed for most families and our social safety net shares the fruits of freedom with those less fortunate. So what’s wrong with this dream? Nothing is wrong with the dream, it is the right idea, what’s wrong is too many have learned to game the system. Moreover, we have trained too many people not to work.

These two major factors may lead to the downfall of the dream, the great experiment. On the 4th when many of us enjoy the fireworks, the fire keeps burning at the foundation of our republic and capitalism. Today many don’t care about anything to do with the country and its freedoms, and some laugh at those who work hard to support those doing nothing.

When you listen to the patriotic songs, listen to the words of the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful and God Bless America. Those songs carry the essences of our country, the essences of our being. While today many don’t have even a twinge of feeling about the country, they only want more. To them John F. Kenney’s words “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for country” seem shockingly out of date.

Where have we gone wrong? Maybe it’s giving our kids everything but teaching them nothing. With the “Great Society”, we are teaching people not to work. Forgetting the words of some of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin when asked; Sir what have you brought us? “A Republic if you can keep it.” Are we the generation that couldn’t keep it? Have we lost our way, or is this just the way of history where all democracies fall under their own weight?

Everyday thousands are leaving their homelands across the world to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave”. Can they be so wrong about the American Dream? I think not, because we still have the time, although short, we can reverse the tide, it will be hard but not impossible.

We must make workers our heroes, the rich our models. We must be prepared to restructure our society because our way of life is changing. Facebook, twitter and texting are changing the way we interface with others. Can we be smart enough to see through time? To see how the world is changing and be at the forefront of that change, not resist it, but embrace it?

Yes, we can, but we need new heroes, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and so many others who have started with nothing and built a fortune and in the process made so many others rich. They must become the dream. Not more government controls and handouts but the freedom to succeed. The freedom that was passed on to us and we must pass on. Mr. Franklin, rest assured that there are still many of us who believe in what you and others created, and we intend to do our best to keep the Republic. Therefore, on the 4th of July we say thank you.

Mike Young is a retired water and power executive who resides in Mesquite. Graduated from the University of LaVerne he has taught communications skills and technical subjects throughout the Western Hemisphere. In addition to writing and editing technical manuals he has a book titled “Speaking for Effect”. He has received some of the highest awards and recognition from both professional and public organizations