Sam and Lib: Scenes from a long, eventful marriage
By Stephan Drew
A long, long time ago, there lived a man and woman. No one really knows what their real names were and everyone called them Sam and Lib so often that it stuck. They had been around when America was born and had lived through many struggles in their lifetime. They had been involved in many battles and, through patience, courage and sacrifice, they had not only survived but prospered. Their neighbors and the friends around them were all much older than Sam and Lib but that didn’t bother the young couple. They surged forward and were determined to chart their own path. Their children benefitted from their hard work for many years and all their friends prospered whenever they had dealings with them. The couple always dealt fairly with everyone and word spread that they were not only nice and decent people but also trustworthy and fair to all they associated with. As word about them grew, so did their influence and they began helping their neighbors and also people in faraway areas. As their popularity and fortunes grew, so did the prosperity of their friends. The only thing Sam and Lib asked others was that they deal honestly and treat each other fairly. There were times when one neighbor or another would get out of hand and there were two really big fights where all the neighbors got involved and a lot of damage was done. Both of those times, the couple stepped in to heal the wounds, rebuild everything and give their neighbors hope for a better tomorrow. Sam and Lib were loved by many, many people. But there were others who didn’t like them at all. You see, a lot of their neighbors were older and weren’t so free and independent with their manners and speech. Even though they were so nice and helpful to all around them, they were looked down upon because they weren’t quite as old, wise and cultured as the others. These neighbors also resented Sam and Lib’s quick rise to popularity and power. They hated the fact that the couple were able to be everywhere, helping and guarding everyone. However, they knew Sam and Lib were too influential and too well-liked, so they never caused any trouble directly. They would often stir up trouble with neighbors who were loyal to the couple. Sometimes, they would even threaten them until the neighbor submitted. Often, a devoted friend stood fast and suffered the consequences. But Sam and Lib always prevailed and dutifully rewarded their loyal friends and neighbors. Only twice were they ever ashamed, disappointed and humiliated. Once, when their children took opposite sides and fought for years over the treatment of the other children. A long time after that, they were helping a faraway friend overcome the bullying of a tyrannical neighbor. Arguments, mismanagement, deceit and greed led to a complete weakening of the whole group and the wicked neighbor won. Sam and Lib had no choice but to gather up the rest of their children and head home in defeat. Since then, they’ve had a decent amount of peace and quiet, except for a few flareups now and again. And there was that one big explosion one Tuesday morning when some evil people hit the loving couple right in their own home. That was a long time ago. Sam and Lib have been dealing with that damage ever since but, I understand, it will soon be over. I don’t think it has been repaired to their satisfaction but, at least the work is almost done. Sam and Lib have been through an awful lot in their history. Yes, Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty were here when the first shot was fired during the American Revolution, they were here during the War of 1812, the War with Mexico, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They have suffered and survived through it all. Their influence is still felt in all areas of the world and the strength of their beliefs has sustained our country through 245 years of struggle. Now, however, things seem a little shaky and I have to wonder if Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam are proud, contented, disappointed or angry. Their determination, the strength, honesty and fairness they taught us has given this land all of its promise. They have seen REAL struggles, not the minor ones we constantly magnify to suit our purposes. The spirit of these two people led to the freedoms and advancements we take for granted each and every day. They have seen millions of their children die, protecting liberty and independence around the world. But, whether you believe it or not, Sam and Lib ARE real people. They are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, aunts, uncles, cousins, sons, daughters and friends. They are all of us. Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty are you, I, and every other American on this planet. They are the embodiment of our country and the ideals we stand for. They are the spirit in us that craves so desperately to be free. They are not perfect but they encompass the strengths and weaknesses in all of us. We have the same talent and skill as any other highly industrialized nation on Earth. And we are blessed with more opportunities and advantages than any other people around the globe. At present, we remain the one Superpower, with China and Russia fast approaching. Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty are still going strong for now. But, it seems like they’re getting tired and losing some of their drive. They’ve been seen to miss a step here and there. They haven’t been paraded out in a while and I’m not sure how modern people would react if they were. But, there’s one thing I know for sure. We might ignore them for a while but we cannot let them die. If the spirit of Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam fall by the wayside, America won’t be far behind them. They are the ideal of who and what we are. If we lose them, we lose our entire identity.