It wasn’t that long ago that you could take pride in the United States and the good that it was doing in the world. America was the place the world looked to as a model of democracy, peace and compassion. There was a feeling of patriotism and pride throughout the entire country that no one was ashamed of showing all year round. Flags flew in front of homes in neighborhoods large and small from coast to coast and what we did as Americans actually mattered and made a difference.
Sure there were still problems, like hunger and poverty, but it didn’t take much for us to unite under the challenge of fixing the problem so no one was hungry or impoverished.
Somewhere in the last half century though, we’ve lost our way, we’ve lost touch with each other.
The otherness we embraced as unique to being an American is now the very same thing that is tearing this country apart from the inside out. Republicans vs. Democrats. Liberals vs. Conservatives. Us vs. Them. We have created a country of division, split down the middle and it’s only a matter of time before this country splits like the Antarctic Larson C ice shelf.
Religion, ethnicity, political views; use whatever excuse that is necessary to make it all justified. The bottom line is that making an excuse is just ignorance by another name. Ignorance in recognizing that the religion of one that is different from yours is justification to be cruel. Ignorance in seeing that someone’s ethnicity is the foundation of their life and not a reason to deport them if they’re working towards citizenship. Ignorance in politics in that the entire breadth of your knowledge is based primarily on what you’ve read from others on Facebook or Twitter without putting in the time and effort to learn and understand on your own.
We’ve become an ignorant country of close-minded, hateful, and scared individuals. That kind of thinking takes a tremendous amount of effort and time to become systemic and will take exponential amounts of effort and time to reverse. A challenge that this country is able to overcome, but only if we’re willing to put aside stereotypical perceptions and see each other as fellow Americans.
We are able to come together as a unified country and have done so on the recent past, but under circumstances that were horribly tragic and sad. The burning question is why does tragedy have to motivate us as Americans to be patriotic, humble and compassionate towards one another? Is a tragedy the only set of circumstances that can sideline the fact that some are black, some are Muslim, some are poor and some aren’t? Am I am optimist for thinking, no, believing that we are better off than our ancestors from 100, 500 or even 1,000 years ago?
Our species has accomplished so much to be proud of, so much to celebrate and rejoice about. Why do we continue to focus our energy on all the things that are the opposite of that? It just doesn’t make sense. I don’t have room for both in my life and have chosen to focus on the positive. In a country where we decided to go to the moon in under a decade and actually accomplished that goal is capable of so many more amazing accomplishments if we could just learn to get out of our own ways.
Where we go from here is up to you.
A decision made to produce positive results is so much more effective than a decision made to produce negative results. Only when we realize as a country that some of our problems have been caused by our own actions, then reverse those actions apologizing for the consequences we created, we will only then start to recover as a country. Recovery is painful and hard. It has to be that way, otherwise we wouldn’t appreciate the results of the recovery. The United States can be the country it once was with a little hard work and determination of its people.
What are you going to do now?