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 blatant partisanship. 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 obviously in a state of moral decay and confusion. Every year we increasingly forget 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. It seems everyone except Christians are free to have a voice and worship as they choose in our country. We are confused about the meaning of tolerance and watch idly as the Pandora’s Box of critical issues such as marriage, abortion, euthanasia, healthcare and religious freedom has been unleashed, redefined or torn apart before our very eyes. Today, we find America appeasing enemies sworn to our destruction, turning its back on our friends, 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. The free ride is over and there is hard work to do. 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 you and me committed to these actions, we can help return our great nation to the right path:
- Love and serve God. Place Him first in our lives. Fight back against increasing efforts to remove God from the public square. Put our faith in our Creator, not in corrupt institutions made by man.
- 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. We must lead by example.
- Protect all life from the moment of conception to natural death. How can our nation not understand that abortion is the killing of an innocent child?
- 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?
- Stop turning a blind eye to the religious and civic freedoms being taken from us.
- 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 children to do the same.
- Speak up and act when we see wrong. We cannot tolerate or 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 we don’t agree.
- Understand that tolerance is NOT a virtue. If we accept everything, we believe in nothing. Stand up for what we know to be right.
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.” This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, we citizens of the United States should 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. We owe this to our children and generations not yet born.
God bless and Happy Independence Day!
Looking for a Catholic Speaker? Check out Randy’s speaker’s page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.
Randy Hain, Senior Editor and co-founder of The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase was voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.
Randy Hain’s exciting new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith was released by Liguori Publications in November, 2012. Along the Way was recently named Runner-Up in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Catholic Book of 2012. Learn more here. His third book, Something More: A Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life, was released in February, 2013. All of Randy Hain’s books can also be purchased at your local Catholic bookstore, Amazon or www.liguori.org.
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Thank you! – The Editors