Lots of talk about America’s failures. Our country is down, some day. Otherd say she is finished.
Sorry, I can’t accept that. Yes, America is in trouble. Has been for some time.
But America has a history of staring down adversity and bouncing back. Yes, it gets harder over time but I refuse to join the skeptics who say our nation is a lost cause.
The problems we face are monumental: a failing economy, a flawed political system, poor leadership in both the White House and Congress and a depressed national mood.
What’s missing is a unifying resolve that can bring Americans together to fight a common enemy.
We’ve done so in the past when that enemy was easily identified: The Japanese after Pearl Harbor, al Qaeda after 9/11.
Perhaps the reason we’ve had so much trouble uniting this time around is our own inability to recognize that the enemy that threatens America today stares back at us in the mirror each morning.
Yes, we’re the enemy and we can only win this latest war if we come together to battle the self-defeating attitude that seems destined to rule American today.
We can’t face our common enemy because we’re too busy trying to pin the blame on others. Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. Conservatives blame liberals and, of course, liberals blame conservatives.
But the problem is societal, not political. Our enemy is our own intolerance for differing opinionsand our inability to even consider opposing points of view. It’s too easy to lash out at those who disagree, to shout down opposing views, to belittle others with name-calling that is too juvenile for even children.
Reason cannot exist in an uncivil society. Rationality disappears when the irrational becomes the norm. When anger and emotions rule, unity and agreement leave the room.
Lincoln said a nation divided against itself cannot stand yet America today is more divided philosophically than it was in the Civil War that prompted that observation.
In spite of this, I believe America can, will and must rise from the uncivil war that threatens our nation and unite to bring us back from the brink.
It will take more than swapping one party for another in the White House or Congress. It will take more than lip service to various philosophical beliefs and causes.
What we need is a fundamental change in thinking, a refocusing of our efforts to put what is best of America ahead of our own, petty self-interests and an end to blind obedience to the dictates of political parties or the hidden agendas of false prophets who preach from cable TV podiums, the halls of Congress and the East Room of the White House.
Americans must be willing to take the bold steps necessary to return our government to the hands of the people.
How? I’m not sure. But we can start here by looking for answers without trying to blame others while making excuses.
At the risk of seeming too highbrow, maybe it’s time to dust off that old copy of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar from high school and remember this quote: “The fault dear Brutus lies not in the stars but in ourselves.”
My English literature teacher used to say that old Will understood, even more than the founding fathers of our nation, that no leader is a god and should never be treated as one. We are equally free and must remember that the human condition, not fate, drives us to our decisions and actions.