The America I Once Knew (and Hope to See Again)

Reminiscing seems to go hand in hand with getting older.  When I slow down enough to look at life through the eyes of my children, I see a world vastly different from the one in which I grew up.  As a product of Generation X, my age group may be the last to remember a childhood without electronic games and very little television.  Our parents didn’t worry as much back then about watching our every move and we were free to play with our friends all day and only come home for dinner.  There was a trustful innocence in what I perceive back then to have been a much safer and kinder world.  There seemed to be less gray area in those days and there were accepted lines you did not cross.  Our country’s leaders, while far from perfect, seemed to have had the national interest at heart and there was less partisan bickering and divisiveness. Times have certainly changed.

I am writing this from a point of view that I hope transcends left vs. right and liberal vs. conservative, because I am very worried about America.  Our country is sick and going down the wrong path.  I think deep down, we all know this is true, although we may disagree as to the causes.  Increasingly, politicians are staking out positions reflective of the fringe elements of their respective parties.  The media has exchanged neutral objectivity for bias and partisanship (we miss you Walter Cronkite and Tim Russert!).  Who is left to stand up for what is right except average citizens like you and me?  In the interest of full disclosure, my perspective and viewpoint is that of a practicing Catholic and an independent conservative.  But, regardless of your faith or political affiliation, I hope you will find much to agree with in what I am about to share.

Our country is in a state of moral decay and confusion.  We have forgotten that we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles.  Everyone who respects our laws is free to worship as they choose in America, but we are going out of our way to cater to radical Muslims bent on our destruction and atheists demanding that God be removed from the public square.  We are confused about the meaning of tolerance and watch idly as the Pandora’s Box of critical issues such as marriage, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, gender identification and religious freedom has been unleashed, redefined or torn apart before our very eyes.  America is talking to its enemies (the Muslim Brotherhood), turning its back on our friends (Israel), and failing to lead globally on multiple fronts.  If I were an ally of the U.S., I would seriously wonder if I could count on America during a crisis.  We have been living on credit for years and the bill is now coming due for us, our children and our grandchildren.  We are adrift and need to get back on track.

Change will not happen in this country unless we eliminate the gray area around moral issues, look beyond petty bickering, accept the inevitability of sacrifice and proudly embrace what was (and still can be) great about America.  First and foremost, we should fall on our knees and humbly thank God, our Creator, for the blessings in our lives and ask for forgiveness and guidance for the challenging days ahead.  Humbly, I offer this checklist for consideration.  If the majority of average people like us committed to these actions, we might help return our great nation to the right path:

  • Love and serve God.  Place Him first in our lives.  Fight back efforts to remove God from the public square.
  • Be a people of prayer.  Prayer is the catalyst that changes everything.
  • Teach our children to have faith in God, embrace lives of virtue and have a strong work ethic.
  • Protect all life from the moment of conception to natural death.
  • Act out of selfless love towards all, especially the least fortunate among us.
  • Uphold the sanctity of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
  • Trust parents and not the schools to provide our children with sex education.
  • Hold teachers more accountable to teach well and to teach the truth.
  • Live within our means. Families and local/state governments have to balance their checkbooks, why shouldn’t the federal government?
  • Demand straight talk and high ethical standards from our leaders.
  • Encourage excellence, competition and the American Dream. Artificially leveling the playing field and redistributing wealth is socialism. This is proven to be a failed model and it will not work.  Been to Europe lately?
  • Only vote for politicians who embrace the above and hold them accountable. We have to speak up, write to our leaders, show up at town hall meetings, etc.  Get their attention!
  • Be active in the community and make a difference on behalf of worthy causes. Teach our kids to do the same.
  • Speak up and act when we see wrong. Don’t cooperate with evil.
  • We may have differences, but we are still Americans. Let’s be civil when engaging in discussions about sensitive issues.  This doesn’t mean giving in…just being a respectful listener, even if you don’t agree.
  • Understand that tolerance is NOT a virtue. If we accept everything, we believe in nothing.

My message is merely a reflection on the vast challenges we have in our country and is not meant to be a cure all.  We are blessed in this country to have so many opportunities and freedoms, but we need to be vigilant in defending them.  As we celebrate Independence Day, let us remember the price our Founding Fathers paid to establish this great nation and the obligation and duty we have as Americans to live up to the heroic ideals they set forth.  Many people have voiced that they want America, the Constitution and our institutions to change to suit the demands of the “modern world.”  Perhaps we citizens of the United States should instead more persistently follow the Constitution and return to the lessons of long ago for guidance on how to live up to our responsibilities in supporting our country.  We have big problems in front of us, but with God in charge and a determined spirit on our part, we will overcome them and help return America to greatness.

God bless and Happy Independence Day!


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