It’s an election year and, like most every voter, I am concerned about the world at large: terrorism, climate change, health issues, etc. But I am even more concerned about our country, its politics, its struggles with economic and social justice, the hate, rage, and violence on our streets and in our neighborhoods, and the racist sickness of too many minds. (One is “too many.”) America the Beautiful is not very pretty these days.
That is why our country needs a Voice right now, badly.
We have had Voices in the past:
“Give me Liberty…”
“Four score and seven years ago…”
“We have nothing to fear…”
“Ask not what your country can do for you…”
“I have a dream…”
“We, the People…” need to be confronted about how in these times we are coming up short in our experience of the American Dream. Our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness are being seriously challenged here at home by narrow minds, abuse of power ,and the plunging value of a human life.
Where is the Voice and who has the words our country needs to hear that can help to make this democracy what our Founding Fathers intended it to be?
Anyone who knows its history or even has the smallest sense of it realizes America is far from a perfect union, never mind a “more perfect Union.” This land of freedom and opportunity, despite its shortcomings, remains young enough to learn. It is teachable – as all of us need to be. It is changeable, something which all of us know needs to happen. No American mind should be small or narrow or disconnected from the common good. This nation is about openness and opportunity, about helping others as well as bettering every self.
America claims trust in God but needs as much for its people to trust in one another. Hatred and violence work directly against that as well as the American Dream. Every life, across this land and in our neighborhoods, should matter to every other life, regardless of race, color, creed ,or country of origin. All Americans, other than its Natives, have immigrant blood in their veins. We are a nation of other nationalities, offering hope and unity of spirit, with freedom, justice and generosity as a way of life.
The Voice we need belongs to every American. We need to tell ourselves, “We can do and be better!” We need to embrace the individual responsibilities true freedom demands. We need to claim as well uncommon common sense, celebrate our values, our diversity, and give new life to the American Dream. But first, each of us needs to give voice to that dream, confront the nightmare of racism and violence, and bring that dream closer to reality. That is what all of us can do for our country.