The America I Knew

This is not the America I knew.

wordmapIn the America I knew, differences made us a more dynamic society. They did not tear us apart and separate us into opposing sides.

In the America I knew, public service meant serving for the good of the public, not gathering power to maintain one’s position.

In the America I knew, we had empathy for those less fortunate, confronted ignorance driven by fear with compassion, and demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice to benefit all.

In the America I knew, Presidents commanded respect by their actions and deeds or faced the condemnation of a country that deserved and demanded more.

In the America I knew, we stood as a beacon to the oppressed, a sanctuary to the hopeless, and a refuge to the desperate.

In the America I know now, fear drives policy. Greed drives international relations. And the threat of unrestrained military force fuels diplomacy.

The America I knew was not perfect, but the goal of the American people has never been perfection. America’s destiny is to be the first society which puts the overall good of the world before self-interest.

Time and time again this nation rose to the defense of countries which for centuries waged war over territory, power, and politics. We fought for ideals, not personal gain. We sent our youth to far-flung places to fight and die for the greater good.

All we asked in return was land to bury our dead.

The America I knew, once the enemy was defeated, extended a helping hand to restore the former enemy and aid them in rejoining a peaceful coexistence with the world.

In the America of today, we are a society divided. Unwilling to see the value in an exchange of ideas out of misplaced obstinance and irrational adherence to our own positions. There is never one way to achieve a goal, but there are a million ways to seek success at the expense of our once tightly embraced values.

In the America I knew, it was never us versus them. Today, the tear in the cloth that was America threatens to send us down the oft-repeated path of history. Instead of a lasting, sustainable legacy, we will be just a brief shining moment ended by our failure to remember why America came to be.

This is not the America I knew, we need to regain the spirit that made us different.