It is with great sadness that traditional conservatives announce the passing of our parents’ United States of America, born July 4, 1776, died Nov. 6, 2012, following a long illness.

Early in life, the USA represented a hope for mankind, a place where all citizens had equal opportunity to use their God-given talents, hard work and perseverance to achieve success for themselves and their families. Success was rewarded and celebrated.

Overlying this was the American character trait of self-reliance, an innate belief that no matter the obstacles, we could pick ourselves up and work our way back to success.

The pillars that sustained this success were: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the family and rugged individualism.

Later in life, the USA was infected with a powerful movement that believed success could be achieved through government dependency. Symptomatic of this was an encompassing sense of entitlement that continued to demand more and more goodies for free to be given to the unsuccessful by the winners of life’s lottery.

The pillars were redefined as the do-your-own-thing generation held sway, and success was possible even if your thing was doing nothing.

Political leaders saw votes in this stream of subsidies, and promised more to come. “Give me more” triumphed over “give me a chance.”

Succumbing to this promise, the USA passed away from class warfare, loss of opportunity and vision, a poor economy, a complete loss of morality and a fatal tumor of a $16 trillion debt.

The USA left no survivors, and there are no visiting hours.

Greg Theriault, Skowhegan