The US bills itself as a law and order nation. But are we? Justice is for those who have the money to buy it. Elected offices are for those who can buy the most TV time. Prisons are a profit-driven industry: we imprison more people than any other nation, many of them for minor drug-related offenses. The ill-fated US war on drugs is an utter failure, just as have been all our wars, the costly wars of choice and regime change that the nation has waged over the last 60 years. We are always fighting something, almost always to very little avail. These battles are nothing but distractions from the deeper spiritual problems that have brought us to this brink.
Our culture, if we can even apply the term, has little foundation, except the basic principle of “I-come-first,” my car, my house, my money, my privacy and to hell with everyone else. You need only a casual reading of US national politics to understand the culture: this “Me-first” attitude is precisely the attitude of the US Congress, whose self-privileged members sit back, do nothing, and gloat as the nation succumbs to increasing rot from within. It’s disgusting that we as a nation fund and then endure these people who claim to serve us. They smile falsely. They kiss babies to woo your vote. They are liars, thieves and beggars who serve only their corporate masters. We are their slaves and they are slaves to money. The entire thing is backwards. Money and power today are in the wrongest of hands.
I have watched various people make speeches in the aftermath of the recent shootings in Dallas and elsewhere. These people mean well, but they know nothing. They make me feel hopeless. If these people are our leaders, we are simply doomed to eternal failure.
The nation is riddled with wrong, incoherent and selfish thinking, and the inconsistencies that follow from that thinking make this nation a mysterious puzzle for the rest of the world. The glory days that followed World War II are long gone, and we find ourselves in disgrace. We are not heroes anymore. Instead, we make every fallen cop, every fallen soldier fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq a hero. It is pathetic. Death will come to every man, but it is stupid and sick to engineer early death and hide it under the thin veneer of “service to our great nation.”
It is well past time that we do whatever it takes to reclaim grace in our individual lives. The only way to restore collective grace in the nation is for grace to dawn in each individual. The nation cannot maintain money as its god for much longer.
And what of national glory? I daresay we have much right now, though if we do, it is certainly not found in achievement on a national scale. National glory is found in the microcosm, in the compassionate individuals whose actions further the great and softer human qualities that the world loves about the US: the helping hand, the all-welcoming arms, the abundant creativity that made ours the most open and accessible of all the world’s economies. All that made the US a bright and powerful beacon of hope for all mankind.
It is not so hard to see the answers. What is hard is to shift our thinking, to shift our awareness to that degree of openness which will help us maintain a broader vision. That shift in awareness has to come first, and better that it comes from a natural impulse to have a better life. A better life is what everyone wants, regardless of his situation. All the money on God’s earth will not give you a better life.
If you’re not moving in the direction of more life, discover why. Ask yourself what’s missing. Unless you are destitute, it’s got to be something inside you—and it’s likely something in your heart. Move forward, now and forever. It’s all inside you.