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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    The Book of James: Revelation V

    Life could be easy. For most people, it is. They go to work at 9 AM and leave at 5 PM. They take the path of least resistance. They may or may not pay for health insurance, instead finding more desirable things to mount debt with on their credit cards. They smoke regularly and drink heavily. They raise their kids and grow old. Any complaints along the way are minor. This is the life of the average American.

    However, I believe in a different way. To quote the great Garrison Keillor, both a New York intellectual and Real American from the Heartland of Minnesota, ‘If you should ever find yourself being truly happy, do not worry, for this too shall pass.’ Hard work and dedication, rife with sacrifice, is not only character building, but simply a better way to live.

    Those of us who volunteer for the hard jobs, who mark certain things as sacred and worth protecting, and who aren’t afraid of an honest day’s work will be better people for it. Achievements come to those of us with strong moral character. If you do not believe in this, then the world becomes that much more frenzied and chaotic a place.

    America is all about those success stories of the man or woman born into a modest situation who went on to achieve great things in life. Invariably, such a war story involves working night jobs to get through school, giving back to those who need it the most, and using all your remaining energy to make your mark in the world. Thank God that while most Americans do not actually do this themselves, they appreciate the legendary men and women who do. As a culture, we revere the Self Made Man as only Americans can. In this country, it does not matter to whom you are born and whether or not there was a silver spoon in your mouth. Those of us with the spirit and drive to succeed will do so.

    Is success the only reason that we need to engage in the constant struggle of self-betterment? No. I view it as something of a religious and cultural obligation. The stories of the first Americans touch us to this day for a reason. The Protestant Work Ethic permeates our values system in America, and I embrace that. It is the very thing that makes us American. It transcends religion and ethnicity. It transcends culture of origin. If you adopt this work ethic that makes up the legend of this nation’s founding, then you are truly an American.

    This entry is not targeted at those who find themselves stuck in a rut, unable or perhaps unwilling to do the right thing for themselves and their families. My audience is not the Wal-Mart manager who refuses to go back to community college and will complain bitterly about his lack of health benefits; nor is it the temp worker who lives paycheck to paycheck, drives a Ford Explorer, and doesn’t have health insurance for his family. My audience is you, the struggling’ student, the hard working hospital employee, the stifled professor. This entry is to help you to reaffirm your mission and to let you know that you are on the right path.

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