“We forget this at our peril: America is not an act of God. America is an act of will.”
Politically, environmentally, and ethically the United States is at a critical crossroads. The days, weeks, and months ahead will profoundly shape our fragile legacy as an experiment in democracy, a champion of liberty, and a crucible of boundless individual opportunity. Despite our painful past failures both geopolitically and morally, we as a nation have, up until now, maintained a certain enviable sense of integrity and high character heretofore seldom seen in recorded history. Our individual response, as members of a greater society, to contemporary temptations that are drawing us dangerously into a vicious spiral of hate, destruction, and isolationism will determine how humanity’s future millennia will ultimately judge the value of our nation’s cultural contributions during this extended era of US global leadership, relative peace, and unprecedented economic prosperity.
In a recent Esquire magazine article, the internationally renowned and non-partisan Brookings Institute lays out the clear and difficult choices that we face as a nation, as well as the considerable obstacles that stand in the way of our making the optimal long-term decisions. The article presents a balanced assessment of how our near-term policy responses to everything from the physical decay of our core national infrastructure to the ethical erosion of our founding principals will determine whether we remain a global beacon of opportunity and fortitude, or instead succumb to the same corrosive arrogance of delusional invincibility that helped undermine other great civilizations of history; upon whom we gaze with a false and dangerous sense of entitlement and superiority.
Will this American odyssey be celebrated as a great leap forward in the evolution of the human spirit, or will our lofty intentions degenerate into the epic failure of yet another society that succumbs to the forces of moral depravity and environmental collapse?
If we choose poorly, we court a destiny in which we will appear simply as yet another passing footnote to the incurable malignancy of primitive man’s insatiable quest for power, mindless accumulation of material wealth, and surrender to the temptations of political expediency. We risk eviscerating any potential for realizing our Columbian dream of equality, justice, and self-determination. Will we abandon this dream, whose foundational mantra has been the quest to maintain its core integrity to the intentions of our founding fathers; a quest that has been sustained by the blood letting of two-and-a-half centuries of countless American heroes who were willing to pay the ultimate price, only so that in the end we could desecrate their sacrifice on the alter of our basest primal urges?
As a people, let us choose our path wisely and be thoughtful in our actions as we formulate our response to the forces of darkness that now loom, not only on the broader international horizon, but also in the hearts and minds of our policy makers, and the populist mob that is so easily swayed by the destructive power of fear mongering, and the misplacement of reactionary hatred. Let us hope that the shortsightedness that has been cultivated by our dependency on a 24 hour news cycle and our susceptibility to pithy but meaningless sound bites does not prevent us from making the difficult but visionary long-term choices that are ultimately the true reflection of a core national character that bread the dynamism and industriousness of which we can all be rightfully proud.
It’s time to step up, get politically active and make your contribution to the national debate. Whether you are Republican, Democrat, Green, or undeclared, get out and discuss the issues, get informed, and find common ground with your fellow citizens. Do not let these divisive times divide us as a people or limit our ability as free-minded Americans to see through the political smoke screens that seek to hide the core truths of our times. I extend my thanks to the Brookings Institute for helping to raise the timbre of our national dialogue.Google+