Wednesday, July 2, 2014

America, the. . .

It seems as though America the Beautiful has become America the Disaster if you pay attention to any headlines or overhear almost any conversation. We certainly have our share of problems, and I find myself embarrassed, frustrated, baffled or saddened daily by something done or said by one or several of my fellow US citizens. Let's just say there is never a shortage of things to complain about.

I could never in a million years call myself a political expert, so let me just get that out there right now. Sure, I have a few strong opinions on certain topics, but other than that, I don't possess nearly the amount of knowledge I should to speak on many issues (something I'm not proud of). Unfortunately, in addition to that flaw, during any history class I took, I always just memorized whatever facts I needed to get by and sort of left it at that.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC for the first time, and it was quite a humbling experience to be in our nation's capital learning about (and actually paying attention to) our country's birth and history. 


From seeing the actual Declaration of Independence to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to the spot Martin Luther King, Jr. stood while he delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech on the Lincoln Memorial steps, I was overwhelmed with conflicting feelings of awe, sadness, pride, hope, confidence, fear and gratitude.

With this experience fresh in my mind and heart, and Independence Day just two days away, I feel the need to remind myself, and anyone else who needs it, that there will always be something to complain about or be outraged at, no matter where we live. I'm sorry to report the world is run by imperfect humans, and as long as this is the case, there will always be conflict, struggle, and, to be frank, just plain idiots making a lot of unintelligent decisions. 

The good news is we actually have a lot to appreciate and be grateful for living here, and as imperfect humans ourselves, we take way too much for granted.  Our country was founded by fighters, and time and time again, strong, sharp, relentless Americans have stood up and fought for themselves, us and our country, continuing to do so today. We may have hit a few too many stumbling blocks and been too slow to recover from some of them, but we remain united even if we sometimes don't want to be.

Take a moment to think back to the spirit of those who preceded us and to that same spirit that lives in the wonderful people doing both small and large acts of bravery and goodness today. They're out there, I promise, even if the not-so-wonderful actions dominate the news. If each of us ignites a little bit of this spirit within ourselves, we could all play a little part in shaping our country back toward its vision of freedom and justice for all.

No comments:

Post a Comment