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American Antiques, Values, Virtues - A Norman Rockwell Renewal?

Jun 12, 2008
American antiques values allow us to reflect on times in American history that seem to speak of a quieter era. Norman Rockwell's gentle paintings showed us an America that all could feel welcome in, and each person an integral part of the daily scene. How far from that idealized America we seem to have strayed; how deeply we all need to feel that America can soon again absorb all that has happened and arise again to be the moral inspiration to the world. Challenges as never before make competition, and our own struggling job and financial feeling of security more at risk than at any time in our lifetimes.

And those Norman Rockwell paintings, we should recall, came out of great sufffering: the Great Depression that gripped America and the world for a decade. And then this was followed by sacrifice of all pulling together during World War Two. And it is this simplicity and sense of communal caring and sharing that we need to return to. Two boys jumping into a lake from a tire on a rope is as natural an expression of youthful joy as any depiction of modern youth being overweight, laden with expensive clothes, toys and gadgets and name brand competitiveness between haves and have nots in name brand consumption.

Perhaps it is time to simplify our expectations and learn to enjoy the freedom of paying off and cutting up, not overloading our credit cards. Less is more needs to become a mind set we can learn to enjoy before we can find ways to slow down, step back, take a longer view and ways to more than survive, but find small ways to regain our best inner instincts towards a deeper and slower way of being, that allows us to realize a deep sense of being part of an evolving world that holds to our core inner values of love and caring.

America is overdue for true internal repair and healing, progress yet truly leaving no child behind, rather than as a catchy slogan that results in the opposite, as Teddy Kennedy and others angrily observed after having initially signed on. After 9/11 it seemed the patriotic thing to do, to keep the economy on an even keel, was for us to try to carry on with our normal routines and continue to consume to encourage a strong economy. However, this increase in spending has enabled China and others to step up their production, and with their dollar a day or hour workers, pour vast amounts of non essential products to the west.

That money flow pours east, or props up, at our peril, America's spending spree on items any Norman Rockwell personality would consider a waste of precious money needed for a rainy day. The essential difference about this less is more mind set was that in that era of want and shared poverty, every day was a rainy economic day. Yet in those years, people were prepared for more of the same, and people not only got by, they had room in their hearts to lend a hand to those more in need.

We really need to be able to get back to that sense of shared communal shoulders to the wheel to get the needed basic human values respected, and essential actions, road, bridge, hospital rebuilding, long neglected civic efforts worked on. We need to get back in touch with those essential values of American antiques figures; a Ben Franklin mind set of thrift and industry, early to bed, that so impressed the restless and poor of the world to come and be embraced into this new world that would value you for your good deeds and honest efforts.

We need to get ourselves back to basics; be more inner directed and close to home, friends and family. American antiques are a way to reflect on where we come from, and the way forward. From John Smith and Pocahantas through Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and needed again now; time again to be reminded of how unique and copied has been the American model. Time, gentlemen, ladies, please.
About the Author
Derek Dashwood enjoys noticing positive ways we progress, the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics, wise use and mis use of power and protective love at
American Antiques
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