The country is in a trance. Whatever side you’re on, something’s off. Ken Follet never chose to concoct something this crazy because there was a time when no one would buy the yarn. Suspension of disbelief would be too strained under the implausibility of fiction that is now passing as real life. A man who couldn’t possibly be president, is. Hateful acts and speech are passed off as patriotism. Racism is in vogue. Babies are being snatched at our border and separated from their parents in the name of national defense. Truth and its pursuit have been perverted into fake news. Canada is our enemy. The EU is a foe. And our president praises a ruthless dictator, known to have meddled in our very own democratic process, even above our own allies. What has happened to our great country?
You needn’t look far back into our history to see a pattern that might bring some semblance of hope to the disheartened. America was built on a set of ideals that have been challenged over and over during our 242 year history. The founding fathers built a radically enlightened set of guidelines that fell under the concept of democracy. But few, even then, were able to fully realize its promise. Slavery was the rule of the day. “All men were created equal” was the ideal; other revolutions would be required for the arms of that ideal to embrace non-Caucasians and women.
Our founding fathers and mothers put their lives on the line under the harshest of conditions to uphold the ideals of our Constitution. 620,000 Americans lost their lives in the Civil War within our own borders. Martin Luther King, Jr. endured all manner of insult, imprisonment, threats of violence, and paid the ultimate price to uphold the ideals of freedom and equal opportunity for all. As Americans, it is not our entitlement to coast on the laurels of our forebears. It is in the very fiber of the national DNA to fight to uphold the ideals of this young nation. And this nation is under threat.
There are those that are so shocked at the current state they want to turn their backs on this country and leave its borders. I say to you, now is the time to face the crisis. Your duty is to take on the mission of those who sacrificed for the freedoms you now exercise. Imagine if Abon and Lucille Bridges decided to send their daughter Ruby to Canada instead of walking her to an all white school as the first African American to do so. Ruby cut through a sea of hate to change the course of our country toward a better future. She was six years old. Monday, November 14, 1960, was not an easy morning for the Bridges family. But they mustered courage as Americans to fight for an ideal. And because America was great then, as it is now, Ruby’s courageous act moved humanity forward.
Our job in today’s America is to show up and make a difference. Whatever that means to you. This is not America failing. This is what makes America, America. We have never been perfect as a nation. The Spirit of ’76 is about standing for self-determination against all odds toward a belief in the inherent goodness of humankind. And this is where we meet the greatest challenge of our time.
In this next American Revolution we must remember that it is easier to kill our enemy than to love them, to enslave what scares us than to set it free. We must apply the learning’s of our past to the current cycle of creative destruction that is upon us. We will prevail from this crisis a better nation. The armed forces that protect our borders give us a special gift, the option of introspection. As we face ourselves at the dinner tables, coffee shops, and in the media, lets be sure to take a moment and remember that hate is hate, no matter the color. Standing for love is far more difficult at times, but also, infinitely more powerful. Love him or hate him, the guy in the White House is of our own making. We don’t need to make America great again. America has always been the greatest expression of the ideals of freedom and democracy. And we are a work in progress. If anything, we just need to remember to make America, America Again. And worry not. If…if there is an emperor in our White House with designs of leading our country astray, the good people of this country will soon see that he has no clothes. Democracy the anti-dote to tyranny, not its ally.