"Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect. But of course it has never been inevitable – it has taken leadership, courage and an unwavering faith in our values."
As I watched Condeleeza Rice last night, that line stuck in my mind. In fact, I kept thinking about it while I was working last night, and then catching up on Twitter and my other news feeds.
During the perusal of my RSS last night, that line echoed in my head as I came across a photo of a "Code Pink" protester dressed as a female body part, and holding a sign that said "Abortion on demand". The juxtaposition of that image, and Ms. Rice's speech showed just how stark the contrast is between those who believe in this country, and those who don't.
I saw some more photos this morning, all taken at the convention. Ann Romney, Janna Ryan, Condi Rice, Mia Love, as well as a few others. These women are proof of the line from Ms. Rice's speech, and again, I contrasted these photos, showing strong, intelligent, graceful, and even beautiful women with the photo of the protester dressed as a, well, you know......
One group of photos showed accomplishment, achievement, intelligence, generosity, and purpose.
The other photo showed "gimme, gimme, gimme".
There is no other way, in this country to get anywhere. You go as far as you allow yourself. You go as far as the effort you put into your life takes you. But, that is something that is falling on deaf ears with many in this country. We have gotten to a point where success, any kind of success, is vilified, demonized, and even, if some had their way, criminalized.
I saw another picture. It was of one of the Occupy Movement protesters, holding a sign that said "What about me?" And then, I looked at my wall, and there was a photo of my dad. Dad worked hard. Dad demanded that we work hard. Dad guided us, and filled us with the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, decency, faith in God, and faith in our abilities. Dad was a manager, a firefighter, and then Fire Chief, he was also a small business owner. Dad could burn the midnight oil like nobody else, get up the next day, and do it all again. I remember the times when I was a petulant teenage know-it-all challenging any value he held, and remember being shown, not told, how I was wrong in my self-righteous and self absorbed beliefs. I was shown the example Dad showed and lived. See, he didn't tell me, or my brothers and sister, he showed us.
So, with that image in my mind, I see this clean cut college student, smart phone in hand, back pack on his back, with the logo of a popular computer manufacturer on it, doing his best to look like he is down and out, holding a sign that said "What about me?"
Gimme, gimme, gimme.
You have to.
Gimme, gimme, gimme.
Entitlement abounds. People, especially young people, not only want, but demand that things be given to them at the expense of others. And when someone dares to speak about how that isn't going to be, the speech is met with viciousness. Not disagreement, no. Viciousness. Verbal attacks calling for the destruction, death, or injury of the speaker. If that speaker just happens to be a "person of color", the attacks are even worse. It's not fringe lunatics doing this either. It's the mainstream. Actors, Actresses, "news" anchors, commentators on national networks. This isn't disagreement, this is hatred. It is "You either agree with me, or face the consequences".
This is where we are at.
We live in a society that is more than ever before, lazy, self indulgent, demanding, and amoral. We are at the precipice.
We are at the cusp of a future that can either lead us back, or take us out.
It's not just about the President we elect either. It starts, or ends, with the decision that is made in November. It is going to take more than a Presidential election, or even gubernatorial, Congress, or Senatorial. Those are all starting points. The changes, the real changes have to come from the people. We have to start pushing back against the tide of corruption, ignorance, immorality, decay, debauchery, and destruction that this society has become. We, as a people, have to pick up the standard of values, and start carrying them.
We have to be like my Dad. We have to show, not tell. Dad did things for people without any other consideration, beyond the fact that they were a person who needed something. We don't have to do big productions, we don't have to call attention to calling for a moral shift. We just have to act. When we act in the small ways, eventually, it changes the big things. We start, by teaching these things to our kids.
This is the future of the United States of America. Romney and Ryan can set the course, we must steer the ship. It's not enough to have jobs and prosperity. We have to show what this country has always been about, we have to live the values, not just talk about them. It may seem impossible, but, we must make it inevitable.
Jesus told us to "be the light of the world" and a "city on the hill". That we must do. Whatever your faith, it is what we must do. We must bring this country back, not only in the economic, and leadership sense, but as a society of values.
It can't be any other way.
(Crossposted to Chairman of the Awkward Squad)