What, really, is the problem with American culture, politics and government?
In my analysis, it isn’t Democrats or Republicans. It isn’t Obama, Hillary, Pelosi or Reid. It isn’t Boehner, Cruz, Paul or McConnell. It isn’t a black problem or a white problem. It isn’t a LGBTQ or heteronormative problem.
It is a failure of people.
We can talk all day about how a rotting culture causes a rotted body politic and a rotten government. We can excuse and alibi until the cows come home, have been milked and put to pasture but if that is all we do, then we will continue with the situation we have.
If you always do what you did, you will always get what you got.
Voting won’t do it. Protesting won’t do it. Wearing your AR-15 on a combat sling to Starbucks won’t change a thing.
So what will?
How do all sea changes start?
They start when one person decides that they don’t want to live the way they are living any longer. They start when an individual says to themselves, I’m going to change…for myself, for my family, for my community.
Look at us – we talk about needing God’s guidance in society even as church attendance is declining. How is God going to make a comeback if we aren’t teaching our children about Him? A majority of Americans identify as Christian and a majority of them believe that religious precepts and deference to natural rights and laws are necessary to good governance and yet we allow our own government to attack Christianity in a mostly passive aggressive mode while openly protecting Islam under the guise of “diversity” and “tolerance”.
We complain about Common(unist) Core and the vile dreck our children are taught in government schools. We witness every day teachers being arrested for child pornography, sexual abuse of our children and just outright sex with them…and these are people we have trusted with the care of our kids…and yet we still send them to government schools…why? Most of the great minds of history got that way without a government school. We are growing the greatest number of the most highly educated young people (as judged by diplomas and time spent in school) who actually know nothing in the history of the world – and we are saddling them with crippling debt in the process.
We talk about character and yet we accept politicians and public officials who lie…and not only lie, they do it brazenly to our faces. Be honest – if you belonged to a civic organization and the leader of that club was a person who lied to your face about club budgets or activities, how long would that person hold power? Given, they might stay in the position – but would anyone do anything they asked?
Why do we accept…no, why do we expect…that behavior in our representatives? Why are we allowing them to go to a podium and claim victories and achievements that are not evidenced in their actions? Can we not turn our backs on these people? Are we still not free to resist by doing nothing they want and taking our lives in our own hands?
Why are we not acting? I think it is because we have lost the understanding of the “why”.
I’ve been fascinated with the author Simon Sinek and his books – the first is “Begin With Why.” I’ve known about him for a while and have seen his TED talks but by an act of total chance, I plugged my headphones in this past week and lo and behold, Glenn Beck was interviewing him.
“Everybody knows what they do. This is the job we do, the service we offer. Some people can articulate how they do it. These are the things they think make them different or special. … But very few people can clearly articulate why they do what they do and by ‘why,’ I don’t mean to make money. That’s a result. By why, I mean, what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why did you get out of bed this morning, and why should anyone care?”
What I learned is, unless we know all those things — unless we can clearly articulate why we do what we do — the rest is more difficult. If you look at the most inspiring organizations, the most inspiring leaders in the world — everything from Apple computers to Martin Luther King to Ronald Reagan — every single one of them starts with why. In other words, they tell us what they believe and the things they do, the decisions they make, actually fit into that context, and not the other way around. So when all those three things are in balance, we are more successful. We live happier, more fulfilled lives. We get along better.”
America actually has a “why” statement – actually a couple of them. Our “why” is in the entirety of the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution, in those documents is explained what beliefs America requires to be successful.
So at the beginning of this writing, I asked what our problem was – but in reality, it isn’t a “what” at all – it is that we have forgotten the “why”.