Friday, June 29, 2012

Securing a More Stable Future

Reactions to yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision run the gamut. I’ve seen celebration, surprise, relief, anger, fear, animosity, apathy, ignorant bliss, worry, and sorrow. I join the camp of those who disagree with the decision. I understand it is a serious matter, and yet I also am not provoked to anger or fear over the outcome. Neither reaction would change anything. It is almost like we think we are accomplishing our civic responsibility by sounding off on our social mediums such as Facebook or Twitter our particular view on the matter.

I must admit, I turned first to Facebook after hearing the news to see what was being said. But I realized, that it didn’t really matter what I or anyone else was saying, because most of us were not in places of influence to where it made any difference what we said.

It would seem that our perilous times would drive us into our history. We would begin to dig into our heritage and rediscover our civic responsibly to this Republic. I have always admired the Founding Fathers and enjoyed the colonial era of history, but I now have an even greater appreciation of their sacrifice and the people of this nation that lived in those formative years.

Regardless of your political persuasion, I think we can agree that we need men and women with the character and resolve of our founding generation. We all recognize the economic crisis. We all should know that what we have been doing isn’t working.

Some are focused on social security and Medicare needs. Others are concerned about job security. Others are concerned about their investments. Still others are worried about their health insurance premiums. Then you have the matters of liberty, the national debt, the failing businesses, the unsustainability of the government programs, or the state of education in this nation. No matter our particular concern, we all have to unite together, just as they did in the early days when the states had to put aside their fears and unite under one Constitution so that they could secure a more stable future.

They lived for us, and yet we live for ourselves. We don’t live to preserve their sacrifice, or to ensure the freedom of our future generations. Most of us are concerned first and foremost for ourselves and our own generation. We have to think beyond our own needs and the needs of our own generation. It may be necessary to give up temporary comforts, for the future security of a now fledgling nation. It may be necessary to provide for ourselves, regardless of the entitlements available to us, just so that the nation doesn’t incur more debt.

There is a poignant scene in The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith. Will’s character approaches a government agency service window with cash and coins in hand to pay back every cent that was given to him while he was in need. What if we thought like this? What if, we the people, took responsibility for our local and national debt?

We have to start thinking about the problems differently. The solutions are simple, but we get too impressed by the complexity of the problem to see them clearly. The same principles that create a happy healthy family, creates a happy health business, and a happy healthy school, and a happy healthy government. It’s all very simple. We have just lost our way so severely that we apply elaborate and expensive band aides to cover the symptoms without ever touching the root issue.

We also have the tendency to declare the whole nation a sinking ship, forgetting we are on board. We then look for ways to provide a life jacket for ourselves, having given up on the ship itself. Or we believe, for spiritual or financial reasons, we will be immune to the sinking of the ship so we figure we might as well sit back and let it sink, because it won’t ultimately affect us. 

Sadly, few see themselves as having any role to play that could make any difference. As long as we think like that, we won’t make a bit of difference. But we will be just as responsible as those who are sacrificing and working to right the ship.

The reality is that every American has a role to play. Not everyone will be in a prominent role directly affecting their city, state, or national officials, but a vital role just the same. It comes in the form of being educated and educating others about our foundational history. It comes from voting. It comes from getting or staying out of debt. It comes from loving our neighbor, our spouse, and our children. It comes from serving our city. It comes from not taking what we don’t need. It comes from giving more than we take. It comes from not wasting what we have. It comes from honest business practices, both as an employer and employee, as a consumer, and as a producer. It comes from keeping our word and honoring our elders.

We cannot take these things too seriously. This is what makes a nation great. Not doing these things is what fills our jails, bogs down our courts, and increases regulations. This is why the Founders lamented that children must receive a good moral education in order to secure this Republic. They, for the most part, did not mandate this by law, but they did promote it in their speeches and writings meticulously preserved for posterity.

America, it is time to wake up. It is time to preserve the sacrifice of our ancestors and secure the stability of our future generations. We can keep or lose this Republic. We will either be the source of the blame or the source of the victory. The choice is ours. I choose victory, for I will not give up on this great Republic.