I am worried about America. America seems to have lost its sense of purpose. Our country was founded on the belief that all people should have a chance at a new life; the good life. Now the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest Americans is larger than ever with five percent of Americans owning sixty-three percent of the wealth of the country. There is a loosely organized group trying to tell Americans about this disparity; they are told by some to go out and get a job. I suspect that the wealthy five percent and corporations do not want “average” Americans to know this statistic; rather they want the protestors to go away.
I am worried about many American leaders who propose simple solutions to America’s complex problems. If there were simple solutions then America would already be fixed. America’s and the world’s problems are complex and true work on fixing them has been ignored for a very long time. Some American leaders are now saying that the world’s problems are too complex for the “average” American to understand and that is why they should lead. I was a public educator for many years and I know that people are capable of learning if they are given the facts and are afforded the opportunity for real dialogue.
I am worried that many Americans belief that building a fence along our border with Mexico and arming state volunteer militias will simply solve the problem of illegal immigrants. What message does this send to citizens of Mexico and the world? What are Mexican Americans to belief about their country? Instead of trying to have a dialogue about the problem and coming to a real solution America is practicing the simple solution to a complex problem.
I am worried about ultra conservative Americans trying to tell me what to believe and how to practice my religion. I am worried that they might succeed in foisting their narrow view of the world on all Americans. I am worried that they will push us into another war with another country who they believe is the enemy. I am worried that the world might think that all Americans are ultra conservative and are “hell bent” on imposing their will on the rest of the world.
I am worried about America when I am trying to have a conversation with a person of an opposing view and they start shouting at me and telling me I am totally wrong and what I believe is Un-American. It is as if shouting louder at me will make their beliefs more righteous and I will either absorb that belief or cower if fear, shut up and walk away. It is bullies like these shouters that I see more and more in America and this concerns me. It reminds me of the McCarthy Era.
Yes I am worried that America is losing its sense of purpose. Offering simple solutions for complex problems worries me. I love America and do not intend to leave it. I do not accept that everything America does is right nor do I intend to give up my beliefs to pacify a group of people on the fringe. I love America and want to see more real dialogue between Americans and the world. I want Americans to sit down with someone different from them and dialogue about what each believes and to accept what the other says without attacking each other. I want an honest discussion from our leaders to the people about what the “average” Americans believe and the direction that they want America to go at home and abroad. I want an America that allows differences in beliefs and an acceptance of those differences. OI want America to be great again for the right reasons.
I am worried about America. I sometimes think that we need Mahatma Gandhi to come back to life and help fix America.
Timothy A. Bess
February 26, 2012