By: Kendall R Rumsey
Last weekend as I was preparing for the Fourth of July, I searched YouTube for a particular version of the Star Spangled Banner.
It is sung by Sandi Patty and in my mind the most powerful version ever recorded. I wanted to share it with my friends and family on social media to mark the 4th.
The first recording of this version I found was an ABC News clip of the final moments of “Liberty Weekend” when the United States rededicated the Statue of Liberty back in the late 80’s.
As I watched the video, I was overcome by the simplicity of our nation, the way we celebrated this momentous occasion together and how we all seemed so much younger and more naïve than we do today.
Watching the video it became painfully obvious that this is not the America we live in any longer. We no longer have grand ideals, we don’t celebrate or look to the future, we don’t strive to be a beacon for the rest of the world.
Today, we are too tied up in our own corner of the world to look at the big picture, a picture of hope and prosperity where we celebrate our diversity, we honor our fellow-man and we take pride in our country.
It is sad to say that the America of our forefathers dream no longer exist.
Why is that? Why have we as a nation become so polarized that we don’t even care enough about our fellow citizenry to discuss the issues that affect us all, we would rather just go to our respective corners and hurl insults and vitriol, why is that?
In the America of 2016, Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats, whites blame blacks, blacks blame whites, gays blame straights, straights blame gays, Christians blame non-Christians, non-Christians blame Christians and on and on and on.
The dream of America has turned into a nightmare and we have no one to blame but ourselves…. WE THE PEOPLE, that is who is to blame.
You see, WE THE PEOPLE, have abandoned our responsibility to our nation. We no longer hold the ideals of our ancestors to heart, we are more interested in immediate responses, self-serving outcomes and being heard instead of listening.
We all have the right to be heard, we have the right to expect our voices be listened to and we should expect responses, that isn’t the issue; the issue is that we as Americans at some point owe it to ourselves and others to look at the bigger picture and listen, not just for our own personal desires, but for the needs and expectations of others.
As an American body, we have let our leaders stop leading. We have allowed this to happen. We elect the same people over and over again to do the same job with little to no change and then question why nothing happens.
I remember when elections actually mattered, the candidates would share their vision for America and the public listened, studied and then voted.
I remember when Ronald Reagan gave us hope for a shining city on a hill, when George Bush promised to put our education at the forefront and when Bill Clinton shared a vision of a new generation ready to lead.
Today, we have two candidates who have taken us so far into the gutter that their only vision is how to put the next insult in 140 characters or less and post it to Twitter.
We don’t need a Twitter President, we need a President who is going to share a vision for the future, a vision of hope and healing, because right now, we desperately need it.
Unfortunately, WE THE PEOPLE are so wound up on Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Gay Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter, etc instead of a collective AMERICA MATTERS we will get what we deserve, because we hold neither candidate’s feet to the fire for answers.
I would love to hear Trump or Clinton give me something to get behind and feel like better days are ahead, unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.
What I do see is more of the same and until WE THE PEOPLE decide that we deserve better and we are actually going to step up to the plate and be part of the change needed, we will continue to get candidates who seek to divide us instead of unite us and candidates who feel entitled to a position because of rank, instead of work.
Americans will always have differences, that is part of what makes our melting pot so amazing. What is poisoning our democracy today is the absolute inability of our leaders and our public to compromise, it is either my way or the highway and anyone who doesn’t agree, be damned!
That’s not the way our country was built, it isn’t the way we were intended to live and it isn’t the way that we will ever find the more perfect union our forefathers imagined for us.
Black lives DO matter and so do White, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Male, Female, Trans, Gay, Straight…… we ALL matter and not one of us matters any more or less than the other.
Until we learn to look at our similarities, our differences will continue to tear us apart.
A wise man once told me, if you agree with someone 95% of the time, use that as your base to build a relationship that together helps forge an understanding for the 5% difference.
Compromise isn’t a bad thing, neither is understanding and neither is intelligent, respectful disagreement. Unfortunately, we have grown into a culture that only has disagreement and the discussions that surround those disagreements are anything but intelligent or respectful.
Common decency towards your fellow-man doesn’t make you weak, it shows strength of character which can go along way towards affecting change.
It is time WE THE PEOPLE took our country back. It is time that we demand our leaders lead, but is also time that we all put skin in the game too.
It is time that we stopped being hyphenated Americans and went back to being Americans. It is time that we stopped looking for something to offend us and started looking for ways to affect us and it is time that we required a vision from our candidates that demands more than a Twitter feed for summation.
It is up to us, WE THE PEOPLE, we can either continue to turn on our televisions daily and “pray for another city” or we can pray AND act.
Our nation is at war, unfortunately we are at war with ourselves, will we continue to watch while our brothers and sisters are killed on the streets or will we come together and honor their memories by rising to a higher self.
The ideals of America require our participation, it’s time we stopped sitting on the sidelines watching while we crumble and come together and piece ourselves back together.
America is and always has been the greatest nation known to man, will we be the generation that continue this legacy or the one that sat back and let the shining city on the hill fall into disrepair?