In the hullabaloo about the issues we seem to be fighting about far too often, we should make a greater effort to remember what has been best about our culture in the US. Yes, we’ve made bad decisions and even horrible ones, but we’ve also done some great things. We are obsessing about the wrongs, which never fixes anything. Too many cheer about the edgy non-heroes, cheer about the heroes who fall, and go on rampages because the older heroes have warts.
Heroes are not cardboard or two dimensional. At their best they transcend the current situation and lead in a better direction. And some make deliberate actions that ruin any legacy. It’s not just of fair to judge them too harshly from another era, as people in future eras will judge you as harshly for your inhumanity. No one likes Carrie Nation, even if she accomplished things.
We all need to list what works about the Great American Experiment, which is having a terrible self induced turbulence. Everyone’s list will differ, but I’d like to see other’s lists. Mine are today: Enthusiastic, boisterous, not hide-bound, Trying new philosophies, new religions, new traditions even if they sometimes get rejected. Land of opportunity that even a newly retired Kentucky Colonel can start a new business and finally find success. A land where every minority has equal rights with other groups, A place where empathy for a pig may run amuck and harshest criticism may fall on cowardice in a crisis. A place that looks to a cooperative future, but still gets far too caught up in mob hysteria and riots forgetting old lessons.
Remember. Most of these crises happened before. How did we forget?