This grand American experiment is 241 years young now. It’s been quite a struggle to build it up, right from the beginning. Wars have been fought to buy and hold on to a nation’s independence, to make men and women free no matter the color of their skin, to look upon each other as being equal. That’s among the truths that are supposed to be self-evident.
It wasn’t always evident even among America’s founders, some of whom had slaves of their own. And years would pass before that practice was abolished. And many more years would pass and too many lives would be lost before a thing called the Civil Rights Act was passed.
Still, does that mean as much today as it did back in 1964? The struggle within this country for true civil rights goes on.
It goes on when the lives of blacks are lost during a traffic stop, when a black man tells a police officer he has a weapon not as a threat but as a precaution and yet he loses his life anyway, yet white men can carry around semi-automatic weapons and actually act in a threatening manner, and they are negotiated with instead of being shot. And the movement that says black lives matter is still mocked by some.
It goes on in the continuous struggle over sexual orientation, even after the Supreme Court settles the issue.
It goes on over religion, with an entire belief system being condemned because of the radical ideology and violent actions of certain groups claiming to represent that otherwise much larger peaceful group of believers, and we hear the shouts of “Bomb ’em all!”
It goes on over gender. It goes on when the vast majority of women aren’t paid on equal levels as men in the workplace for equal work. It goes on when the debate over what a woman chooses to do with her own body rages on, even after the Supreme Court settles the issue. It goes on when misogyny goes on at the highest levels of the land, yet even women of a certain ideological bent somehow see fit to defend it when it happens.
I’m tired of it. Are we a people who believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness? Or do we just want to force-feed a particular belief system on everyone based on our particular beliefs, and if someone doesn’t go along with our beliefs, then — by God — they can just pack up and leave or die.
Is it better to force-feed our beliefs on those who disagree with us, no matter what the highest court in the land says, or is it better to work out our differences in the halls of Congress, no matter how long it takes?
I’m tired of believing that it’s possible to work out differences that way.
I’m tired, and yet I still hold out hope.
I don’t want to believe that all the blood that’s been shed and all the lives that have been lost over the past 241 years of American history in order to make a more perfect union has been shed for nothing. I still believe there can be a more perfect union, but in order to make that happen we can’t be afraid of progress.
I believe in progress. I believe in moving forward, not backward. I believe we are still a great nation, but we can be greater still. Whether that happens is up to us as a people. We have to open our minds, to each other and the possibilities that are in front of us.
I’m tired. I’m getting more weary by the day. I’m looking for America. I’m looking for the America that I’ve believed in for a long time.
How about you?
Part 1: It’s getting … tiresome
Part 2: A Vision of America
Part 3: Where America Is At Now
Part 4: The Fakeness of America
Part 5: Turning Things Around