Sunday, September 11, 2011

Stand, Work Together

In the late 1700's, a collection of people from different regions and economic interests came together to form a new government. They bet everything on the fact that they could create a coalition to govern that would be of greater benefit to their people than the current powers in charge, the British Empire.

And so the plan for the United States of America came to be. Different regions, all acting for a common good, for the benefit of all. And in defiance of a crushing monolith of power who ruled with military force.

Each person in the new design bet his life that together they could change the balance of power. And they managed to do it, miraculously, tenaciously.

After they had been victorious in the military struggle, the hard work of governance still needed to be done. They set up a system where there was no longer a single person or small group that would rule by whim, but one where power would be split and require the obediance of all to set laws. A system where no person was above the law.

Less than a hundred years after this successful coalition became our United States, factional interests drove a wedge between different groups. One group decided that their own interests were more important than the coalition, and so tried to form a separate government, one that would have forever destroyed the unity of what had been built.

And so our people went to war with each other, slaughtering ourselves by the thousands, tearing us apart, in the name of protecting our union.

Somehow, we survived that. The coalition, the union, survived that. We remained as a unified nation, struggling through our differences, believing that together we were stronger than if we were apart. And it worked again.

Now we are in the twenty-first century of our modern era, and the union is struggling to remain a coalition once more. We are at war with the world, and with each other. Many are angry, afraid, bitter, and in despair. Some are turning their rage against people of other lands, some against their neighbors.

Instead of building schools, hospitals, communities, and better lives, we are creating more armies, weapons, prisons, and separate, competing power centers.

Even though our expanding, perpetual culture of war and military empire is bankrupting us, we continue to think that more bullets and bombs is our way to safety.

We seem to have no leaders, no common cause. Those in charge ignore our laws, and blatantly act as criminals. Squabbling demagogues and groups compete for what power and privilege they can seize, as the lot of the common citizen worsens by the day.

Our house is on fire, and we stand in place in the flames, shaking our fist in impotent rage and arguing with each other about whose fault it is. If we continue down this path, we shall all be found lifeless in the ashes.

Let us remember what made this nation great. Laws were made to keep order and define the codes by which we live. Let us not abandon them so easily. Let us demand that our leaders be accountable to those laws-- all of them, all the time.

Let us do common work for the common good. Let us remember our past, and work together to build a better future.

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