The Decline and Fall (or Will it be Rise) of America

Whether you are conservative or liberal, rich or poor doesn’t matter much for this conversation. I just want to ask you to think about America. Our home. Most of us from any philosophical or political stripe would agree on this—America is in trouble and appears to be in a stall if not a descent. My question is why? Here are some of my random thoughts. Maybe some will resonate with you.

  1. First, it’s not the politicians it’s the people. We love to berate them and criticize them and threaten to throw them out of office (and Lord knows they deserve it) but let’s not forget who put them there and who keeps putting them there. Us. You. Me.
  2. Deficit spending—whether for war or welfare, guns or butter. You can’t spend what you don’t have. It’s economic suicide. And while most everyone wants “cuts” no one wants their pet priority cut; cut somewhere else.
  3. The public is generally ignorant—of science, math, and most regrettably, history. Americans don’t know their own history and certainly don’t know the full story. A people with no sense of history have no hope of making good decisions about the future. Indeed, they may have no future.
  4. The public is constitutionally ignorant. Few have read it. Few believe in it. Few know what its purpose was and is. As a country we have cut the lines to our stable moorings and are adrift on a sea of international relativism—sailing with no compass other than our own opinions. This cannot end well.
  5. The public is ignorant of the thoughts of the Founders. We don’t know what they meant because we don’t know what they thought. We don’t know what they thought because Jon Stewart and Sean Hannity don’t quote Locke or Gladstone or Cicero. Who? Exactly.
  6. Tribalism is the organization of societies into gangs, bands, parties, groups, and clans who think and talk alike. America has become a very tribal country (much like Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, and other 3rd world nations) accelerated by 4G technology.
  7. Inclusion and tolerance (once virtues) have become tsunamis of moral indifference and ethical confusion. Yes, Virginia, there are some things that are wrong.
  8. The ugly twin of extreme inclusion is political correctness. When we hesitate to wish someone a Merry Christmas or get blasted for rooting for the Braves (whose mascot insults “native Americans” something is stupidly wrong. People with thin skins need to grow up. I’m a bald, middle aged, Welsh-Scottish-German-Swiss-Jewish-Southern male. If I was as sensitive as some people you couldn’t say “good morning” to me without a perceived slur.
  9. Niche focused media (Fox, MSNBC, etc.) preach their brand of data and news to their own choir. I never have to listen to anything I don’t already agree with because I’ve got a remote—the ultimate arbiter of truth—and a “news channel” that feeds my opinions.
  10. Americans have short memories. 9/11 wasn’t even a decade ago. My dad fought in WWII. Some of us can remember segregated schools and bathrooms. It’s a good thing to remember and not live so much in the sound byte of the moment or the latest tweet.
  11. The rejection of American exceptionalism is anti-historical. Other than Israel, no country has a history or sense of destiny like America once had. Conservatives abuse this and make it into American superiority; liberals dismiss it as pipedreams and insulting to the world community.
  12. pretty much says it all.
  13. Washington has become the center of our universe. More change and goodness is possible locally than we could ever dream of in DC.
  14. Good hearted people have been duped into thinking that government can do a better job of helping those in need than their neighbors—you and me. As a result, no one gets help.
  15. Where did we get the idea that rights were dispensed by the government? Where did we come up with the idea of “group” rights—white rights, black rights, women’s rights, Latino rights, students’ rights, left’s rights, gay rights; isn’t it about individual rights as human beings? Respect for individual rights and dignity is the only antidote to the rise of tribalism.
  16. And finally, and I believe this to be the root of everything I’ve outlined, we refuse to honor God as God. America has gradually turned her back on true religion—the fear and worship of God and the humble serving of others—in favor of church attendance, mystic experiences in the forest, and fuzzy use of the word “spiritual.” No nation can long survive the abandonment of its God.

My purpose in writing this is not to add to the cacophony of political arguments in the US. In fact, I’m done with that. Instead, I’m going to concentrate my blogs, tweets, and other publications on three things: the presentation of true religion, the communication of positive, historical truth about America and the Constitution, and the sharing of stories of people around the country who are doing good. There are plenty of folks who can point out what’s wrong. By God’s grace, I’m resolving to focus on what’s right wherever I find it. I’m sure that many of my conservative friends will find things to disagree with; no doubt my liberal friends will also. I really don’t care. But if you want to dialogue on what’s true, and pure, and helpful, and praiseworthy, and good…then join in.

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