Americans Can Fix This Mess Too
Wednesday - September 01, 2010
It’s tiresome to hear detractors of America forecast our ultimate demise. The emergence of China as the second-largest world economy is cited as the harbinger of America’s ultimate fall from world leadership. Our internal discourse, which can be seen as societal self-immolation, has become so coarse and so destructive that the line between honest debate and atomic “gotcha” is blurred. The list goes on and on.
I do not disagree that we are on an unprecedented path of devolution. Our political leadership is led by a majority that seems hell-bent on shifting our nation to a true nanny state, purposefully creating insurmountable debt, weakening
our military strength and is poised to exert the ultimate power and authority of the federal government in punishing several states in our union for having the audacity to take care of themselves.
I was born in 1961. I remember the ‘60s as a time of great turmoil. Our society was evolving, changing. As a child, I remember the protests in my small college hometown. The Vietnam War was divisive, regardless of its intent.
The most indelible event for me was in June of 1968. I was 6 years old. I had come out of my room to see my mom intently watching our TV. On the screen, there was chaos in what looked like a basement. I saw a man, lying on the
floor with men surrounding him and holding his head. It was the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. There were others killed, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. There was rioting in major cities and unrest everywhere you turned. The unpopular war, the political upheaval, the debate on race relations and policies addressing them, a dour economy that suffered due to uncertainty and the specter of the Soviet Union as a possible entrance into a third world war. It seemed that America had lost its greatness and was on a downward spiral from which it would not recover.
Fast forward and we have faced down other difficulties leading up to today. We overcame Watergate, an oil embargo, corporate financial meltdowns and the impeachment of a president. We are a resilient and dynamic people. Despite the challenge, we always have risen up and overcome. There seemed to be an optimism, an esprit de corps, that we exuded. Sure, we may have our backs against the wall, but we always had confidence that we would get though it and, ultimately, be better for it.
It’s the current lack of confidence that leads naysayers to believe the demise of America is imminent. It’s the lack of confidence in our politicians and their stewardship of our system that points to the devolution of our society.
And therein lies the brilliance of the Founding Fathers. We, the people, ultimately do have the power and authority to determine our collective futures. We have the vehicle in which to turn the direction of our nation back to a path of independence and prosperity. We can redefine the priorities of our community and instill the confidence in our future that is sorely lacking today.
But it takes commitment from us to ensure we are doing all we can. Are we informed? Are we active? Get active, for starters, by getting out and voting Sept. 18.
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