So what do you think? Is our country in trouble? Do you feel as if the America you grew up in is disappearing? As if everything that you grew up believing and thinking and living your life by is now under attack? Are you afraid, fearful, worried about what’s going to happen, and how your chldren are going to fare in the future? Do you look at the future with a sense of hope, with a belief that the opportunities, dreams and desires you’ve been looking forward to will still be there.
There’s a lot of people these days who are deeply troubled, and who are really in trouble; trouble that comes in the shape and form of survival, of surviving from day to day. More than at any time in recent history people are having a hard time getting by; they’re out of work, behind in house payments, worried daily about how they’re going to feed their kids, and have a hard time looking at the future with any sense of hope or well being.
People, by and large, are looking for a hand up; not a hand out. People want opportunity, a chance, an atmosphere in which they can grow, develop, and thrive. When I look at the heartland of America, the middle-class family, the small-business owner, I see a group of people who are just yearning for a chance to prove themselves. They don’t want someone trying to take care of them, or make people share their wealth with them; they just want to live in a country that gives them opportunity, a country where they can feel a sense of security in their lives; where people can feel confident in their government and elected officials that govern them, and most of all a county that treats everyone with dignity and respect without catering and pandering to one particular group or philosopy.
When I look at a lot of the young people in our society, I see a group of people, who are scared, who feel a deep sense of hopelessness, who, sadly, have no faith in anyone or anything; who feel like they’re living in an alternate America that has all the trappings of a prosperous country, with all it’s freedom’s and seeming opportunities, and yet when they look around, see themselves as the kid on Christmas morning opening the prettily wrapped package only to find that there’s nothing within.
What our young people need is to live in a country that inspires them to be great, who offers them a chance for a great education all the way K-12, and then gives them the chance to go to college without racking up a lifetime of debt to repay and no way to pay it back. Who need oportunity, and who have the tools, talents, and abilities needed to seize it when it comes. Who need to see what real success looks like, and not the gilded, glitter-ridden, emptiness that our so-called entertainment industry with it’s fame-starved, greed loving, money gathering junkies and proponents like to throw before them as if any of those things have ever led any of them to real contentment and happiness.
There’s a whole sub-culture in this country that are almost non-existent, except by those who exploit them at election time, that live in a different America. Children that go to bed hunry, many of them used and abused in – terrible, cruel, unspeakable, intolerable – ways, who grow up (knowing in a way that we never can) that they live in a country that shows over and over again that nobody truly cares for them. People that are trapped in a life that many of them didn’t want, but have no way out, and – who in many ways – are kept where they are by a government and a people who are willing to give them a food-stamp voucher or a free bowl of soup, but aren’t willing give them a real opportunity by showing them how to help themselves.
So many of our children and young adults live as lambs among wolves; they live, play, work and walk among well-dressed, well-mannered, affluent monsters only too ready and too willing to devour the innocent, the unfortunate, and the unprotected. What’s worse is that they live among a group of people who cry tears, who bewail, and rage against the injustice done to them, but who won’t step up and act on their behalf. Who prefer reputation, prestige, and wealth over doing the right thing, and thus leave them always vulnerable to the monsters who would hurt them.
Our country lives under what, I believe, to be the best system of government this world knows. It’s not perfect, we all know, but no other system allows as much freedom, as much opportunity, as our does. What other system can be named where people are allowed to prosper from their own hard work, their own creativity, their own willingness and determination to succeed as this one? Where even people who rail and protest it can be heard without fear of recrimination? Where even the lazy, the irresponsible, the unmotivated, and the uncaring can live in a prosperity that much of the rest of the world would envy?
America as a country and as a people, has always thrived because its ideals were the greatest that man can aspire to, the chief of which – to serve and worship God freely – were unlike any else in the world. The things we valued: Our Freedom, Our Families, Our Country, and most of all Our God were on full display and we lived by their tenets. We were exceptional – thus the term American Exceptionalism was born – for those very ideals, and it’s why every American citizen has an ancestry that originated somewhere else.
Our country is in trouble, as our people are, but we are not beyond hope, are not so far distant that we can’t hear the voice of Our Great God calling to us to step foot upon His path once more.