In our political discourse we hear the words, “Our country has never been so divided!”
Americans have a history of disagreeing with each other. During the Revolutionary war there were Loyalists and Patriots. In the Civil war the North and South fought over slavery. Following this, we were torn between Industry and Labor, Catholicism and Protestantism, Jews and Gentiles and rich and poor.
Having been around during the struggle for Civil rights, Women’s rights, the Vietnam War and our “preemptive” strike on Iraq, I am inclined to believe that being “divided” is not unusual for us. Possibly emotions have been intensified by our rapidly developing technology. We are swept up in a flood of activities with little time to reflect and evaluate the changes that are impacting our lives. Lately we have had some encouraging news. We have seen students coming together demanding that those in power confront gun violence. We have seen women finding a way to be effective in fighting sexual harassment and teachers in great numbers striking for a pay raise and money to improve education.
While some of the problems confronting us are complex, to me many of our choices between right and wrong are clear. Global warming is a reality. If we continue to dump toxic waste into our rivers, lakes and oceans we will perpetuate a legacy of illness and death.
Violence permeating media, films, video games, and mental illness have contributed to a feeling of anxiety in our society. But over shadowing these is the supreme influence of the National Rifle Association. For 50 years they have manipulated the American public with fear and intimidation. Although they claim their main purpose is preserving the Second Amendment, in reality, they are a lobby for gun manufacture’s and have blocked reasonable laws controlling the use of guns and ammunition for many years. Their actions have caused the death of thousands of people and turned some areas of our country into war zones.
Perhaps the greatest threat we face today is cyber security.
Opioids have commanded our attention lately. Building a wall on the Mexican border won’t keep drugs out of our country. The root of the problem is within our borders. We are addicted. If we didn’t create a market for drugs there would be no drug problem.
If you watch the “news” on TV you may find that Stormy Daniels dominates the scene. Often matters of importance are sidelined or ignored. I was shocked the day I discovered that we have “private” prisons in this country. (Prisons for profit!) This is incompatible with serving the cause of justice.
Another concern I have is the realization that the U.S. has a military presence in over 100 countries. We are actively conducting bombing raids in Syria, Iraq, Afganistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. While we target Isis and Al-Qaeda we can be sure that civilians are being killed. I question how effective these raids are and the financial cost.
There is much complaining about “illegal immigration.” “They are criminals! They are breaking the law!” I saw a woman being interviewed that was residing in a church sanctuary. She has been in this country illegally for 13 years. She has her two children with her who were born in America. She is afraid of being deported. She believes that she would be killed. She made the simple statement, “I deserve to be free!”
In the “Declaration of Independence” are the words “All men are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” further – “it is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans, The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious; the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family” (Barack Obama)
As we proceed into the future we will be tested as to our character and fortitude and whether we are willing to pay the price for what must be done.