This is written from an American point of view, but in substance it applies to the world at large …
As a nation The United States of America has lost it’s direction. Perhaps I ought to say it’s direction has been dictated to be of benefit to a few at the sacrifice of the many. I know, I know- we were never the sterling example of truth, justice and liberty that most of us have been educated to believe. Corruption, greed, racism, elitism, never ending militarism and special interest have been with us from the very beginning. I do not argue that.
I present what I consider to be a simple truth: In the past we were a better nation than we are now.
Whether by design, ( which I personally believe) or by circumstance, or by unknown and unknowable forces or processes of human society, we have become less than what we were. Seemingly everyone has accepted that, and seemingly everyone has their own personal theory of the whys and wherefores. We all see intricate patterns of cause and effect, we can all point to villains, we can all laud our personal heroes, we can all present our own reasons to explain what has brought us to the now.
We can, and have, and apparently will, continue to argue about the forensics of the crime.
As a nation we have not so much lost but simply turned our back on the moral high ground. It may be a fact that we never really had the moral high ground, that’s another argument, but there was a time when we promoted the idea of it. No matter how laws and principles were twisted in the past, at least the manipulation of those laws and principles started on an unattainable pinnacle before they were brought low.
Another simple truth: we are no longer a nation ruled by law. We have dismantled more than a thousand years of slow progress toward a society were-in no one was above the law. It has been our great equalizer, it protected the poor as well as the rich, and yes- it was always subject to manipulation, misinterpretation and plain stupidity- but above all there was at least an attempt to adhere to the ideal.
As a nation we have, seemingly willingly, given up or allowed to be taken, what we have always thought of as our birthright as Americans- simple liberties. Our civil rights have been been shed, trodden upon, and ignored. Arguably two of the most enlightened documents to ever be produced by mere mortals- The Constitution and The Bill of Rights- have in all ways been abandoned.Yes, yes- I know that in the past some people had more rights than others- some laws- perhaps many of the laws of the past, were biased, skewed by religious, elitist or racist understandings, but we tried to be above such base motivations. We made mistakes, we tried again, we polished, we argued, we strove to be better.
Here’s another simple truth: As a nation we have lost the ability to disagree in an adult manner. We have accepted the basest of solipsist attitudes- I, and by extension all those who believe as I do, am absolutely right in my opinions, attitudes and actions.
I could go on, there are countless examples, but the point I’m really trying to make is that we have become a generation that, so far, has failed to accept our responsibility to continue the effort to make our nation,and the world, better.
I believe that, like the modern day approach taken by the Pharmaceutical Companies, we have been treating the symptoms of the disease, and have forgotten that the goal ought to be to cure the sickness. The more we alleviate the symptoms, the stronger the disease becomes.
Today we have elected representatives who no longer even try to hide the fact that they are bought and paid for proponents of the wealthy. That, and that alone, is the real disease.
Poverty, homelessness, unemployment, the plight of the elderly, the never ending wars in foreign lands- all of it- are merely the symptoms.
As a nation, we have lost the idea that all humans have a right to live a dignified life. We have grown cold, distant, and judgmental. We have lost all sympathy. We have lost all empathy. We have not only come to accept that the plight of the poor is, somehow, inevitable, but that it is, somehow, allowable.
I know from past experience that I have opened myself up to charges of being nothing more than a doomsayer, a cry baby, a dreamer, a nihilist. So be it. I present what I see, and I believe it to be the truth.
And there will those who ask what they can do, those who will say we know what the problems are, how about giving us the solutions? They will back that up by saying it’s easy to criticize, it’s easy to find fault.
And they’re right.
I offer another truth: You, you personally, are responsible. You can deny it, you can ignore it, you can blame others, you can allow fear to keep you silent, you can allow fear of losing what you have to be an excuse.
But you, you personally, can create the change we need as a nation.
Look at the country, then hold your own morality up to scrutiny. What have you allowed? Do you honestly think that your responsibility to your fellow man begins and ends with your vote? I won’t bother to bring up what I consider to be the valid argument that your vote is meaningless.Do you honestly believe that we have the luxury of waiting out another election cycle, and another one after that? Do you honestly think that your contributions to one charity or another negates your deeper culpability?
If you support the status quo, then you must accept that blood, real blood is on your hands. Do you allow yourself to live a normal life while those around you are ground into dust for want of food, or a home or medicine?
Enough. Just stop. Resist. Dare to risk personal safety. Dare to lose what little you have in order to give something to all those who have nothing.