- Posted May 22, 2012 by
La Jolla, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Can We Still Believe in America, Given What We See Today?
When I was growing up, in the 1940s and ‘50s, evidence of the rightness of our faith in America was everywhere to be seen.
We’d sacrificed at home and abroad to defeat freedom’s enemies and to preserve what we cherished as our American way of life. The world believed in the greatness of our nation. And our own belief in America, its righteous power and generous spirit, sustained our belief in ourselves as strong and good.
I don’t feel so much that way today. And I don’t like it.
Have you been hearing that America’s strength is declining, that the 20th century was “America’s century” and the 21st isn’t and won’t be? Tough stuff, deeply troubling for our nation and ourselves as individual Americans. It may partly explain why many Americans today seem to have turned to grabbing as much of the good life as they can, as individuals, and the hell with everyone else.
Worse, many of the politicians, bankers, and business moguls of today provide all the support we need for individually selfish lives. Their faith is in the visible evidence of their own success. Their goal is not to fulfill the needs and wants of everyday Americans or to make America great again. Their goal, day after day, is to make fortunes by making us believe and act on their words rather than their deeds.
That’s not my faith in America. I want my strong and great America back!
I want to believe in our government’s concern for all of us, not just the rich and powerful. I want to believe we will prosper again and be able to offer bountiful services to every American. And most of all, I want to believe in myself as an American who embodies these values and acts on them.
Can we hang onto faith in a great America today, when it’s so difficult to see evidence of it? Is our faith in America’s greatness strong enough to bring us together to start restoring it?
I think so. Because I think we all share the need to believe in a great America. And I think the greatness of America still lives within all of us, no matter what our individual political beliefs are.
Paradoxically, the current presidential campaign, with its disturbingly high level of deliberate efforts to deceive us and thereby influence our votes, suggests a way for us to feel better about ourselves and to begin coming together again as one incomparable nation.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Let’s decide we won’t allow politicians and special-interest groups to manipulate us into automatically believing what they say -- and we won’t accept their often doubtful evidence for it.
For example, when I ask myself, “Do our currently high-profile politicians, bankers, and business executives, who appear to think of themselves first and the rest of us last, if at all, represent the greatness of America?”, it seems clear the answer is no. Yet I acknowledge that the sheer volume of information with which they bombard us makes it easier to just accept what they say, especially if their words support my political beliefs.
If I allow myself to support people without question, I’m allowing the greatness of America to recede even further into the past. If I don’t, but instead work to match words with deeds in the service of our nation, I’m more likely to support people who will work for a greater America.
Multiply this action on my part by millions of Americans, and it’s possible to see our country starting to become great again.
So how about it? Through determined and clear-sighted action, let’s create for ourselves “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”—faith in ourselves, individually and collectively, as the true source of America’s greatness.