“The Sad, Sad State of America…And Some Hopeful Suggestions To Get Us Back On Track.”

Once upon a time there was a young girl named Sybil Ludington.  You have to dive into history to find mention of her name but her story is one of incredible bravery and perseverance.

Faced with what seemed to be the impossible odds against the British army in April of 1777, her father who was an American Colonel, asked her to embark upon on a midnight mission after the British raided Danbury.  Sybil was only sixteen years old.

Although Paul Revere gets most of the glory for this midnight ride, Sybil traveled that same night twice as far as Revere, some forty miles by horseback in the freezing rain to warn the local militia men of what was coming.  Thanks to the fearlessness and conviction of this young woman, the men were able to get a head start and engage the British at the Battle of Ridgefield.

Throughout history in the building of our great nation, we have had thousands of “Sybils”… men and women who fought and died courageously for this country.  They had a full understanding of where we had come from and what the fight meant.  These heroes of our colorful past had a finite comprehension of liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

However grand our successes may have been as we grew from the infancy of a newly formed nation, we also made grave mistakes as well .

Slavery, the lack of women’s rights, Abortion, the stock market crash, wars…it’s all there, in the history books displayed for all who seek to learn from the past. Our haunting memories forever written in stone as a harsh reminder for us all how far we’ve come and how easily it could be to slip backwards if we’re not mindful.  With each step in our never-ending quest to be extraordinary, we vowed to learn from our mistakes and strove to be a better people.

With this resolve in mind we continued to evolve despite these harsh historical blemishes.  We developed welfare programs for the poor, incentive programs to educate the less advantaged.  We fed the poor, cared for the sick.  We adopted voting rights for all citizens.  We welcomed immigrants from across the globe.

We raised our families in peace and harmony.  We pursued the American dream of boundless opportunity.  Every man, woman and child worked night and day on the farms and in the factories, grateful for the work. It meant something to be self-sufficient, to support one’s family, to be independent.

When our founders began the story of America, they composed the building blocks for our national documents and institutions that proudly proclaimed:  In God We Trust.

In those days, we openly praised God and thanked Him for the blessings of America.  We were grateful for the gift of being a part of something that stood as “A City upon a Hill” for all around the world to witness and strive to be…

Back then, we openly pledged our allegiance to our country.  Classrooms everywhere taught of our rich history so that they too could appreciate how far we had come and what we stood for.  The children recited The Pledge of Allegiance each and every morning.  Patriotism was something to be proud of.

 

But things are different now.  We’ve changed… the core of America is not the same anymore…

 

Here’s the sad reality we experience in today’s America that would stun our forefathers:

*Saying “Merry Christmas” is socially unacceptable.

*In 2008, a great many Americans applauded a minister named Jeremiah Wright for spouting that blacks should not sing “God Bless America” but instead, “God Damn America”.

*”In God we Trust” is no longer the firm foundation upon which to stand and is shunned publicly by many people as unacceptable speech.  Some are trying to have the phrase removed from our monetary system because it is seen as “offensive”.

*In 2014, Planned Parenthood was caught on videotape describing how they sold fetal organs for a profit, a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures to preserve the organs.  Shockingly, this organization continues to receive American tax dollars.  In 2016, this amount was over $500 million.

*The Ten Commandments which was once a beautiful reminder to us all to be decent people, has been removed from buildings and deemed offensive.

*Male/Female Bathrooms and showers have been made into a controversial issue and in some instances, dangerous situations for young girls.

*We don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools anymore. Patriotism is no longer taught and in some instances students have even been sent home to change their clothing that adorn the emblem of the American flag.

*Sadly, after so much historical progress, race is an even more divisive issue today than it was ten years ago and emotions on both sides are running high. We are all Americans.  Skin color should never be a thought.  Instead hard work, character and integrity should be the only true judgements for which to base one’s existence.

*There is now a heated debate over whether or not to kneel at the playing of the National Anthem, instead of standing proudly with our hands over our hearts to honor our country’s bravest.

*We dishonor our veterans by spitting on them as they pass in airports and gather into large and very loud groups to protest their funerals.

*In todays America, “All lives” don’t matter.  Only a select few.  During the 2016 election Senator Martin O’Malley was publicly shamed into an apology for saying “All Lives Matter.”

*Gangs are killing one another in the streets at alarming rates.

*Innocent police officers are spat upon, protested, doused with urine “cocktails” and executed in their vehicles while putting their lives on the line for the citizens they vow to protect.  These good Cops are unfortunately paying the price for the actions of fellow officers who have in some instances, made horrific choices with their authority.

*We step on and openly burn the American flag while onlookers cheer.

*We have a social media platform which allows anyone and everyone to regurgitate their deepest opinions and thoughts about every issue under the sun, 24/7. This rhetoric which is captured in 140 characters or less oftentimes results in name calling, vitriol and otherwise unacceptable public comments which only leads to more shameful and unnecessary divisiveness.

*We censor books that we don’t agree with.  Such American classics as, “To Kill A Mockingbird” has been recently banned from schools.

*Sadly, mass shootings have become a heartbreaking national crisis…more gun controls? Mental health issues?  The heated debate continues with both sides firmly set in their corners unwilling to compromise on what to do in order to solve this incredibly painful issue.

*We actually beg, protest and vote to be a socialist nation.

*We have an opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of Americans.  Words like, “compassion” and “urgent” run rampant while searching for a cure yet our leaders still fight the securing of our borders where 70% of these drugs pour into our country.

*Our Hollywood Entertainers make nauseating videos of the US President lying dead on a gurney draped in the American flag with a toe tag.  They perform in plays in Central Park that have actors repeatedly stabbing the other actor depicting the President into a bloody pulp.  They mock him daily on entertainment shows.  They take pictures holding the severed, bloody head of our US President.  All while a great number of people actually cheer this behavior on as though this is normal and/or in any way acceptable in a civilized society.

*The IRS admitted to targeting conservatives for tax scrutiny in order to affect the outcome of the 2012 election.

*There are countries that chant, “Death to America” and burn our flag in the streets. Instead of standing firmly in our convictions, we cowardly send airplanes loaded with $400 million dollars in cash in the dead of night and make a deals with them to slow down  (not eliminate- “slow down”) their nuclear capabilities.  They continue to chant, Death to America.

*We allow for Sanctuary Cities to protect illegal immigrants who break the laws of our country not only by granting them save haven but by allowing them the freedom to be re-released into our streets and neighborhoods without consequence, leaving some to commit unthinkable acts against innocent American citizens.  Meanwhile, our Justice Department does nothing to correct this national flaw in the system.

*We violently protest free speech on our college campuses with those whom we disagree, by threatening physical harm to these individuals as well as setting fires and destroying property in the vicinity of the protest itself.

*Many College professors espouse only one sided agendas that preach intolerance, oftentimes clouding the minds of our children into misguided ideologies without any thought of presenting both sides of the argument or hosting honest debates.

*Peaceful Protests are few and far between and mostly a thing of the past.  Now, we dress all in black or scantily clad, carry vulgar signs using profanity and scream at the top of our lungs for attention. No useful solutions are offered, just loud screaming and unfortunately more often than not, violence ensues.

*We abort fully formed babies up to the 8th months of gestation.

*Shockingly, after how far we’ve come, the white supremacist group KKK actually still exist today.

*In 2016, out of 325 million Americans, 68 million received some form of welfare government assistance.

*There is actually widespread support for abolishing our 2nd Amendment Rights to own guns.

*In 2016, hate and extremist groups grew 3% from 892 to 917 nationwide.

*In 2016, there is overwhelming evidence that Russia attempted to interfere and influence our Presidential elections and instill doubt in the integrity of the American voting system. The possibility of Collusion with the Russians from both campaigns is currently being investigated.

*In 2017, we began taking down statues and monuments across the country because some were offended by their representation in history.  These structures once delineated our heritage as the national gravestones of our past whereby serving as constant reminders of the overwhelming successes as well as our dismal failures as a nation.  Sadly it appears that much like the bestseller, “To Kill A Mockingbird”, that which cannot be tolerated must be obliterated.

 

Ladies & gentlemen, we are in a sad, sad state indeed.

 

So what do we do????

Here’s my take:

  1. First, we need leadership.  We need our elected officials to come together and show us by example how to be exceptional again.  We need tough talk and a willingness to listen. And how about invitations to talk out grievances on a national level, in a civilized setting where true solutions can be worked out? Screaming at one another from separate sides of the street is not the answer. Note to our elected officials:  We elected you to be leaders.  So lead the way and unite us by example.
  2. Next we must re-examine our core values as a country and have a clear definition of who we are.  We are strong.  We are leaders.  We are innovators.  We are the example for the world to follow.  We are loving, kind and charitable.  We are responsible parents.  We are allies.  We are hard workers.  We choose to be independent.  We value our freedoms and will fight to preserve our liberties.  We LOVE our country and what our flag stands for. Yet over the last twenty years, the definition of being American has become blurred.  We need to publicly redefine it for all Americans to give them something to strive for. This begins in our schools, our churches and with our legislators. This needs to be a national campaign. Americans want to feel good again!
  3. In order to fight our way back to unity we must find common ground.  We have to be on the same team, fighting for the same causes.  We have become so polarized in our beliefs that we shut down the possibilities of other peoples opinions.  A wagon is just a useless box without its wheels. We need to remind ourselves that, together we do great things. Why not assemble regular Americans from both sides of the argument, bring them to the White House and head up new American initiatives like:  Helping Inner City Kids get jobs, Police officers spending time with black families and vice verse to get to know one another, bring members of the LGBTQ together with christians and let them have dialogue that could bridge some miscommunications, have mothers meet with women contemplating abortion who can can give them insight and options, bring democrats and republicans together to hash out political differences without politicians clouding the possibilities of bi-partenship.  These are just a few of the many ways we could work around the divisiveness of Washington DC and actually do something that helps these causes.
  4. We need to demand that our leaders follow ethical non-self-serving practices.  This begins with campaign limits and regulations to set the guidelines for free and ethical elections.  I propose a government issued amount of money, per primary candidate for the election process.  No other monies from outside sources can be used or donated.  Our elected officials have to win by playing by the same rules and the same bank account.  I also propose term limits for all politicians as well as living by the laws they pass for the public.  That includes healthcare and tax benefits. Our elected officials need to be reminded they work for the American people. By restoring our faith in government, we will have less of them pitting us against one another in order to gather votes to keep them in office.
  5. Peaceful Protests are an American privilege.  But they need to be properly managed. The first glass bottle or window broken, the first vulgar sign that appears, the first fist thrown and the protest is over.  Period.
  6. Federally funded Colleges need to be held accountable for their curriculum.  There needs to be equal and balanced opinions being taught in order to allow for the students to form their own educated ideas.  College is supposed to help our children grow, expand their world-views and reason through information.  If they are only spoon fed one set of conclusions, how can we expect them to function in the ever-changing environment of the adult world?  Free and open forums that present both sides of expression is a must and should be protected. If additional monies are required for law enforcement, all students should have to pitch in to pay for the protection.  If there are 1000 students and law enforcement/and or damages costs $1000 then each student gets a $1 payment attached to their tuition payment. If they choose to be civil, then the cost of freedom of speech just went down by $1000. It’s called consequences.
  7. Our laws must be enforced. All of them.  If you don’t agree with the laws as written, run for office, get involved, write your senators, use your power to vote to change them.  But simply choosing to not enforce the laws or willfully breaking the laws is unacceptable, should be a federal offense and must be prosecuted. Those breaking the law should be held accountable.  That means from the petty thief to the elected sheriff allowing a criminal illegal immigrant loose onto the streets. If the immigrant commits a subsequent crime against an American citizen upon this unlawful release,  the US official who released them should be held accountable and treated as an accomplice. Again, we must restore consequences for undesirable behaviors that lead to the harming of any American citizen or public property.
  8. We must once again restore respect for authority in our country.  This includes the military, police, government officials, teachers, parents.  I personally believe this rogue mentality of our youth began with Dr. Spock’s controversial book written in 1946, “Baby and Child Care” which went on to sell some 50 million books. This ideology of “no consequences” parenting style for children no doubt negatively effected millions who grew into adults with no reasonable sense of personal responsibility.  We need more voices helping parents to raise independent-minded, consequence-aware children.  These children are our future, our hope.  It’s past time to reverse the damage that has been done to this man-made entitled generation for which we depend so much upon for the future of our country.
  9. It is imperative that we restore a sense of patriotism back to our people. The freedoms we are so blessed to enjoy have been taken for granted for far too long. We have unfortunately become a weak and whining people who have forgotten the lengths and true depths of the sacrifices that have been made before us, to give us the liberties we enjoy in our daily lives without an ounce of thought. “The Pledge of Allegiance” must be reinstated in our schools to instill a necessary sense of pride and a building block to spread the humility for our rich history filled with stories of bravery, duty, perseverance and love of country.
  10. The hell with Political Correctness. It’s lunacy. If it walks like a duck and acts like a duck, it’s a duck. If you’re acting like a duck and get called a duck and it hurts your feelings, then don’t act like a duck. The ever-confusing re-labeling and word-avoiding society we’ve become to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or offending a particular group has risen to a nonsensical level. Civility and kindness should always be the golden rule. Otherwise, we as AMERICANS need to stop being so sensitive about EVERYTHING. We need to pick our battles for heavens sake.
  11. We must accept that some ways of doing things have changed and we need more tolerance in these areas of our lives.  For some, gay marriage is a difficult concept to accept. Perhaps it goes against everything you’ve been taught…but if you could sit down with one happy gay couple and get to really know them…perhaps your ways of thinking could change?  Perhaps you grew up with prejudices against African Americans or whites or latino’s.  It is all you’ve known. But if you could get to know these families, their hopes and dreams for their children, you just may realize that you have so much in common. In the end, we are all the same on the inside and we all want the same things don’t we?  Gay, straight, black, white, christian, jew?  Love, happiness, freedom, liberty, our dreams to come true? Sometimes, it just plain time to say, the old way of thinking isn’t working… let’s expand our hearts and be open to new experiences. It’s important to remember:  “Love thy neighbor” wasn’t written with exceptions to the rule for a reason.
  12. Lastly, we need to once again fully embrace our spirituality, our faith in God, our sense of charity and kindness for which our very foundation was built upon.  One should never be ashamed to say “Merry Christmas” in the United States of America much less feel its acceptable to NOT stand for the playing of our National Anthem to honor the sacrifices made for the greatest country on earth.

So in closing, whatever your grievances… and I fully understand, there are many, consider this:

Regardless of the chaos we are experiencing at this very moment of our history... would you really want to live anywhere else?  

I say this with total respect:

If your answer to this simple question is yes... if your grievances so outweigh the benefits of being an American Citizen…if you care more about your personal arguments than to research history, educate yourself on the issues and actually entertain the matter from a “both-sides” perspective… if you’re unwilling to peacefully discuss these issues with the ones you disagree with for the greater good of the country and extend the olive branch in order to work toward a solution to make us great again…if you are unwilling to stop  protesting loudly and instead put your energies into volunteering and doing charity work to make a difference for the very causes you’re shouting for… If you don’t believe in the freedoms of democracy anymore…

Then maybe you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you fit the definition of an American Patriot anymore…

Make no mistake about this article, I fully believe we are all sinners here.  It’s easy to have an opinion.  Easier to tweet about it.  Fulfilling to write articles about it.  But as we all know, actions speak louder than words.  Perhaps the solutions are as simple as this one little catch-phrase?

So I willingly extend the olive branch to any and all of you…

My love for my country… my love for each of you… my sincere desire to live as one connected and kind people, to solve the hurt of so many of you who feel disenfranchised or unjustly wronged, my honest conviction to work together toward fixing the true issues we face… is real.

Is it too late for us to redefine ourselves once again as, THE United States OF AMERICA?

Knowing what we’re made of… who we truly are….where we’ve come from?  I have high hopes for us all…

So from one blessed American to another,

God Bless you and your family…and for all of us, may God Bless America now and forever more.

Michele Mathews

If you liked my blog today please feel free to LIKE, COMMENT & SHARE.  As always, #kindnessmatters 🙂