Americans are infatuated with, and completely dependent upon, the mighty and miraculous Wheel.

       Travis Naughton

Imagine what our great nation would be like without cars, trucks, trains, buses, tractors, wagons, trailers, motorcycles, unicycles, bicycles, tricycles, golf carts, shopping carts, motorhomes, airplanes and other wheeled machines. In this country, the Wheel represents not only mobility, but also freedom and power.

The United States of America is a nation of wheels.

Without wheels, the United States of America would not exist.

With all those wheels in motion, it is inevitable that a fair amount of them will squeak. Those that squeak the loudest will, as the saying goes, get the oil (or grease). Oil them regularly, and they won’t give you too much of a problem—for the time being. When a wheel starts squeaking, it can be kept in service for quite a while if there is enough oil on hand.

A squeaking wheel is the product of age, wear, fatigue, and obsolescence, and as time goes on, an old, worn-out wheel will squeak louder and louder regardless of how much oil it gets. Eventually these wheels become so loud and annoying that we are forced to replace them—hopefully before they break. A country filled with obnoxiously noisy and/or broken wheels would be a less than pleasant, and likely very dangerous, place to live.

The Unites States truly is a nation of wheels, but a lot of those wheels are getting worn out. They’re becoming antiquated. Some are dangerously obsolete. New wheels are taking their place every day. These new wheels offer better reliability and performance. They’re more efficient. Some are produced in other parts of the world. These new wheels don’t always look the same as their predecessors. These wheels represent a new age of technological breakthroughs, innovative ideas, and a focus on the future. The new wheels reflect society’s evolution from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age and beyond.

Although change in a rapidly evolving society of wheels is inevitable, there are many who stubbornly and loudly resist it. These squeaky wheels try to convince themselves and each other that the new wheels are their enemy. They use fear to cling to their positions of power by telling others that the new wheels want to destroy our great nation. They vilify the newer wheels, and all-too-often, they even harm them. But the wheels of progress will never stop turning, no matter how loudly those crusty, rusty old wheels squeak.

There are a lot of folks who welcome the positive changes happening all across this great nation of ours. These people support equal rights for everyone regardless of gender, race, or religious affiliation. They believe that men and women should be paid equally for doing equal work. They believe that a consenting adult should be allowed to love and marry any other consenting adult of their choosing. They understand that a refugee is not a dangerous criminal or a lower class of person with fewer human rights than the rest of us simply because he crossed an arbitrary border in order to protect his family from a murderous regime. These people, with an eye on the future and an affinity for progress, hope to stamp out hate and its publicly displayed symbols. They recognize the damage that humans have inflicted upon the Earth, and they want to do something about it. They want to increase funding for public education and healthcare rather than nuclear bombs.

These Americans consider themselves global citizens with a responsibility to help the weakest among us in order to make the world a better place for everyone. People who are dedicated to improving the lives of their fellow human beings possess a strength of character not present in the hearts of those who only serve themselves.

To those progress-minded people who are worried right now because the loud, squeaky wheels control all three branches of the federal government (and our state government here in Missouri), I offer you this kernel of hope: Wheels squeak loudest right before they fail. Rest assured that all the grease in the world can’t keep the Big Wheel (the Squeaker-in-Chief), or his cronies, rolling forever.

Facebook Comments