It's Time to Renew the Purpose of America

It's time for our leaders in Washington to take a look back and make sure the people are still following.
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Here we are, almost 60 days into the New Day. So much has happened; so much has had to happen.

Now, as the dust begins to settle after the frenzied submission and passage of the massive 2009 stimulus bill and with efforts underway on the second part of the TARP bill and a stunning 3 trillion dollar budget on the table, it's time for our leaders in Washington to look up from their position papers and committee meetings and take stock of the situation. It's time for a check of the big picture. It's time to heed that old adage that when you dig yourself into a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging. It's time for all leaders to look back and make sure the people are still following.

Just for a moment, let's have all sides stop the yelling and the selling and start the only conversation that matters: How do we now stand together on what America stands for and how do we move together to get America moving forward?

Let's begin the discussion with a review and renewal of what we stand for: The purpose of our great country, these United States of America. For what purpose were we created? What difference were the founders trying to make with this noble experiment?

Purpose is the definitive statement of the difference one is trying to make in the world. To paraphrase Aristotle, where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your purpose.

The amazing miracle of America is the powerful fact that we actually have a core purpose. And whether or not our political infrastructure always reflects it, the American people do. We the people believe in our purpose. Regardless of our political, geographic, racial or religious differences, we come together on the purpose at our core.

So what is the purpose of America? After extensive interviews with people from all walks of life all across America, our purpose is crystal clear and non-negotiable:

To be a nation of the people, by the people and for the people, always moving forward without leaving anyone behind.

The first pillar of our nation's purpose was originally, eloquently and prophetically spoken by our 16th President on the battlefield at Gettysburg. On the political battlefield of our day, with its own deep divisiveness, let us all come together behind the sacred purpose in those words. It does not say of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, for the lobbyists. And it does not say of the bankers, or by the Democrats, or for the Republicans. It says that in our nation, the people are in charge. We are responsible and accountable for our deeds. And we are the beneficiaries of all we achieve.

The second pillar of our purpose is about progress itself. Always moving forward without leaving anyone behind. We are a nation of doers and dreamers and it's that drive, that purposeful pursuit of what's next that has taken us to places we could never have imagined. Let us never waver in that conviction to achieve. Now is the time to redouble our ambition, to look up from the circumstances we're in and toward the place we want to be. And then let's go there. All together.

In times of great turmoil, purpose is your anchor. It doesn't prevent you from being battered about by the storm, but it will keep your ship afloat while others are capsizing all around you. And when the seas calm, and they will, purpose is also your north star. So, leaders it is time to stop grasping for straws or searching for silver bullets, we would advise that you stop, take a deep breath, and before you do anything else, get everyone on our ship of state on board with the fundamental purpose of our nation. Once you do that (and ONLY if you do that) will those ever scarcer resources be allocated in an efficient and impactful way that will get us where we need to be. If an initiative furthers our nation's purpose, you do it; if it doesn't, you don't waste our time, money and energy on it. Also, our nation's work-force, taxpayers and citizens will begin to come together united behind the purpose of our nation and will sacrifice and be motivated to contribute to something they can believe in.

During these troubled times, the purpose of America has been at best ignored and at worst violated. But it is never too late to renew our purpose. We are a resilient people, full of optimism and determination.

With purpose as our guide, our steps forward become clear and our decisions become focused. Through the lens of purpose, our leaders and the people of our great nation can come together, not just on common ground, but on higher ground.

"Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life."

--Abraham Lincoln

The real question we have to answer before we falter any further, is how do we re-build an America of the people, by the people and for the people and do so in a way that will move us all forward without leaving anyone behind?

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