In 1911, Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre Museum. Despite its seemingly eternal iconic status, prior to being stolen, historians assert the Mona Lisa was relatively unknown to the public. After knowledge about the heist was made known, the story is told that thousands of Parisians flocked to stare - at the empty spot on the wall where she once hung.
A few years back, I found myself also staring -- down the gaping hole that would soon become "home" to my deceased husband. The events of that day are blurry, with the exception of the drive from the cemetery. The sun was quickly fading in the western sky as the funeral home limousine whisked me due east into the darkness of night and concurrently into the darkest season of my life. Peering through the window, grief-stricken, I explicitly remember thinking my life would never be the same. It wasn't. And, over time, I realized how much I had taken for granted.
Though not as dramatic as grieving the loss of a loved one, or as superficial as grieving the loss of an inanimate object like the Mona Lisa, it seems a growing number of Americans are now in mourning for the America they didn't fully appreciate until it was gone.
They are longing for the time when civility and unity had a place in Washington politics and America led the world economically, ethically and militarily. A time when planning for the future was a positive thing. Gas and food prices didn't force you to choose between basic necessities and your mortgage payment, and jobs were in surplus and unemployment low.
If anything positive could be said about the upheaval that has marked the past few years, it's that it sparked a reawakening to our national identity as a "shining city on a hill", as Reagan so eloquently put it. At the same time, the Progressive left has seized the opportunity to peddle their own propaganda and promote the "fundamental change" Obama so eloquently promised.
Karl Marx once argued in 1859 the process for social revolution must include the economic unraveling of capitalism before "A socialist society based on democratic cooperation thus arises." The winds of change are again blowing as the 2012 election nears; Progressives understand the window for advancing their ideas under the Obama administration is rapidly closing. As a result, leaders are doing their best to convince the rest of us that America is in need of another revolution by manufacturing anti-Capitalism protests around the country.
Back in 2010, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said labor unions must control the "national conversation" and help to "fundamentally restructure our economy," and former Obama administration environmental advisor (and avowed communist), Van Jones, echoed Trumka's charge and recently promised an "American Fall" similar to the recent Arab Spring protests. True to their words and their cause, "anti-everything" protests have broken out across America making the rest of us even more homesick for the land we once knew.
Problem is, these twenty-something protesters simply don't know what they have in America. If rewarded for their efforts after protesting for the sake of protesting, they will find themselves staring at the empty hole that was this great country and will not even know why.