This nation’s preoccupation with plastic surgery, beauty pageants, and hair care products is off the chain. I recently had a conversation with a lady who did not appear to blink once during our five minute exchange and it was odd how her lips barely moved even though she was talking to me. I am still not sure what she told me, as I was in awe of this spectacle occurring right in front of me, and fighting temptation to poke her face. I can proudly say, I resisted temptation and only poked her face in my head – outwardly I was cool as a cucumber and nodded as I pretended to listen.
Back in the good ole days, people worked endless hours each day to put food on the table for their kids, got out of bed before the sun rose and headed to the dairy barns to milk their hormone free cows, raised their families, and also managed to salute the flag, all before heading to bed at dusk to get up and do it all over again. People used to work so hard the sent themselves to an early grave, or at least to an early visit from arthritis, or “Old Arthur,” as my grandma calls it. Even back in my day, kids were outside playing until the sun went down and had to be called in for dinner. The sound of the National Anthem was enough to get people to stop talking for two minutes during a baseball game out of respect for country and pride of the flag, and teenagers paid for their own gas and car insurance.
Well, now I sound like a nagging adult, but what happened to the “Ugly America?” The America where people were more concerned about getting a job than the outline of their jaw? The America where children and teenagers said “yes please” and “no thank you” and did not assume they were entitled to a smart phone and a car? Where the average citizen knew how blessed she was to be living in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” and because of these brave, people had the freedom to be as ugly as they wanted to be and didn’t have to go get injected with cellulite to look younger? The good old days, when being ugly meant you were working hard and didn’t always have time to make sure your eyebrows were perfectly tweezed, and people were hideous and proud of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for change…when it is for the better. I love new and exciting and applaud those who think outside the box, take a leap of faith, and venture into the unknown. However, I also appreciate heritage and history and feel we, as Americans, are quickly forgetting what our great nation was founded on. We forget those who have paved the path for us. I say it is time we get back to our roots and instead of getting jiggy with it, we get ugly with it!
Both of my grandfathers lived through extremely tough childhoods, to put it mildly. However, both men worked hard from a very young age, accepting whatever job they could get and doing whatever was necessary to make ends meet, put food on the table for their kids, and make life better for the next generation. They both often worked more than one job at a time and put themselves through night school; and because of their ceaseless effort and outstanding work ethic, my entire family has not had to face the same struggles my grandfathers did. Their hard work, effort and sacrifice made my life better. They were not afraid to get their hands dirty, roll up their sleeves, and work.
Sometimes it takes getting in the trenches and fighting battles to make life better in the long run. Oftentimes sacrifice goes unnoticed and hard work unappreciated - and it would be nice to sleep until you naturally woke up - instead of setting an alarm clock for wee hours of the morning. Sometimes it takes getting “ugly” to turn a life of hardship and struggle to a life of hope and contentment. I am all for people having two separate eyebrows and the occasional pampering; however, I am always an advocate of hard work, sacrifice and getting one’s hands dirty.
One of the things The Torch stands for is the “ugly” of life. We promise to get into the trenches alongside those who are hurting and in need, and who can use a helping hand. We embrace those who feel they are outcasts: the single mom working two jobs to make ends meet for their kids; the teenager working and going to college so he can have a brighter future; the elderly in the nursing homes who sacrificed for their families and now need us to remind them they are important and their wisdom is invaluable; and the veterans coming home from war who struggle to transition back to civilian life. We want to salute you and honor you, and let you know your efforts and sacrifices are not in vain. We want to help turn the ugly into something beautiful, full of hope and promise.
America – it is time to get ugly!
Let’s roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, grab the hand of someone in need and not let go of it until she is standing on stable ground. Let’s wave our country’s flag high to set an example for the rest of the world about what a little effort and a lot of love can do; to show other nations how Americans truly care for each other regardless of outward appearances, bank accounts, or religious affiliation – it is time to care for each other for no other reason than we are all people with a soul who need and deserve love.
It is time to bring back the ugly America!