Our country is in a mess.
If you live in the south that expression has become a frequent mantra, one expressed on the golf course, at the local breakfast gathering, before church, at the ballgame, in a book club meeting and often around the few remaining family dinner tables that exist in 2015.
More than likely similar thoughts are expressed across other parts of the United States, as Americans watch unfolding dramas play out on television, in the newspapers, in social media and, again, in nearly every venue we find ourselves in on any given day.
In some ways, the statement is far truer than we would like to admit. From the outside looking in one can clearly see an America in turmoil. Strife seems to be on every corner; prejudice of just about every kind seems to abound; hate seems more prevalent than love; and political back-biting has overtaken a good, common sense approach to legislating for the good of our country and its people.
Having said that, though, are we truly in more of a mess today than we have been at any other time in our nation’s history? Hasn’t there always been drama of some sort unfolding? Hasn’t there always been turmoil? And hasn’t one generation always thought the next morally reprehensible?
If you answered yes to any or all of those questions, then you might be wondering what the difference is today? Why does it feel as if we are on the brink of a nation destroying itself?
Part of the reason could be because it’s true. If reasonable people don’t stand up and let their voices be heard, making the difference so sorely needed in our country today, then we could easily implode, being overtaken by extremists who try to — and often do — run this country with their bullying, “oh I’m gonna sue” attitudes that scare honest American citizens into a corner, too afraid to stand up for what is right and more frightened to say it.
Being a difference-maker takes courage. It takes a willingness to go against the grain, saying things that aren’t politically correct but are morally, biblically and in every other sense the right things to acknowledge, void of judgment but steeped in truth. In other words, making a difference means being willing to tell someone what they need to hear versus what they want to hear.
Ironically, each of us thinks we do that already. But opinion (ours or the someone’s else) and judgment aren’t necessarily right thinking, if that opinion is based in self-serving knowledge alone, as is often the case.
It takes true soul-searching to determine if the right you are standing up for is right because we want it to be for some self-serving purpose, or if it is just merely right.
Many of the things we fight so hard for today boil down to what we think is right for our own purposes and not for the greater good.
Another reason we feel as if we are on the brink of destroying ourselves could be the technological world in which we live, where any happening becomes news instantly rather it’s found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or countless other social media outlets. People now see drama unfold as it happens, and it gets shared a million times, making what may have started as a small problem look like the Bay of Pigs incident.
Things that 20 years ago might have hit the cutting room floor and been edited out of the 6 o’clock news now instantly become a trending topic and by nightfall has often been blown completely out of proportion.
The end result is a citizenry who often sees the world as a mess beyond fixing.
No question there are many tears in this country’s moral fabric; and no question there are problems that need to be solved so we can truly be one nation under God. Resolving them, however, takes people, working hand-in-hand, void of prejudice, for the common good.
We see it happen every day in communities like ours and like others across this great nation, people standing side-by-side, making plates for fundraisings, walking to raise money for cancer research, playing golf to build financial offers for sick children, to fund schools, to construct medical facilities, to help the blind and burned children.
When you watch people from all walks of life and all races come together for good causes suddenly you see that our country is not nearly in the mess it could be in if all these good, honest people didn’t exist.