In our politically charged nation where the President has spent the better part of his administration vilifying those who disagree with him, and where political opposition has spent the same amount of time vilifying the administration, the question I have to ask is a simple one. What makes America a unique nation in the world, a nation where the number of people attempting to move to, far outweighs the number of people wanting to move from?
We used to talk about something called the “American Spirit.” It was a quality I thought that reflected the national belief that we were capable of accomplishing whatever we chose to do. A nation where the individual had the freedom to move from poverty to riches based on his or her talent. But where we had compassion for the less fortunate and where we as a community would care for each other. What seems to be lost in this brave new world of total government control is the sense we can remain individuals, with the potential to achieve greatness based on talent. To have that the opposite must be true, there can be no great success without failure, and if we now expect the government to step in and prevent failure it, it must hold true we should expect them to step in and prevent greatness. For the expectation that the government is to make everything right has to be based on the mistaken belief that what is right for one is right for all.
It seems to me we have lost the ability to elect representatives that are capable of governing? Individual men and woman who are able to put their own selfish wants aside and discuss, debate, and decide on a path that will move the nation forward in a sustainable and economically supportable manner. Today everything is about the sound bite. What do the self-serving analysts on the FOX or ABCNNBCBS networks have to say and what can the politicians do to spotlight themselves? Marshall McLuhan said, “A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.” Today’s media offers freely marketable points of view the consumers take as gospel and serve to create an us versus them division within the nation. Precisely the issue Abraham Lincoln was concerned with in his address to Republican delegates assembled in Springfield, Illinois on June 16, 1858, when he said -
“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention. If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending we could judge better what to do, and how to do it. We are now into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but as constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
While Lincoln was addressing the issue of the day, slavery, the fundamental truth of his words remain, if we choose morally opposing views of what is right for this nation than we cannot long stand. I wish I had an answer, but I don’t.