I don’t want to think about the past today — not because it isn’t worth remembering, but because I want to keep my eye on the future.
In a little less than two months, the adult citizens of the United States have a choice to make.
One side tells you America is great. We are the best nation on earth, and the other guy envies and hates us because of it. They tell you our economy is strong, and the people who think otherwise are whiners. They tell you our health care is fine, because anybody without insurance can just go to an emergency room, where they cannot be refused care. They tell you our environment (and everybody else’s) is not changing, and nothing happening with it is our doing. They tell you we can answer all our energy needs by drilling more.
The other side tells you America can be greater. We are a wonderful nation, but that does not mean we should not make ourselves better still. They tell you our economy is faltering, but we can change it so that the guys at the bottom have a chance to lift themselves higher. They tell you our health care is inadequate, but we can change it so parents don’t have to choose between going to work and staying home with a sick child. They tell you our environment is in flux, but we can change the habits that are sending it awry. They tell you we can answer our energy needs, not just for now but for the future, by looking to answers other than oil.
One says we don’t need to change. The other says we must, and we can.
The first side tells you their attitude is patriotic. I call it arrogant. Patriotism is not resting on your laurels, assuming your forefathers and foremothers did all the work for you. It’s rolling up your sleeves and acting to make things better, because you want to see your nation become more than it already is. It’s looking to the future, and asking how you can improve it for the generations to come.
Patriotism is hard work.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . . .
Good words. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t stop with the Constitution. Justice, domestic tranquility, and all the rest — perfection included — are something we need to keep fighting for.