With all the controversy over the Affordable Care Act and government shutdowns, is it any wonder we have become, for lack of a better term, distracted? Priorities have shifted to things like the above-mentioned game changers, continuing economic crises and all-too-frequent tragedies in a time of ongoing disarray. While we are right to focus on all of these issues rather than bury our heads in the sand, have we become a country so fraught with our own turmoil that we are losing sight of what made us able to overcome adversity in the first place?
Perhaps it is best to get back to basics. I am all for change and advancement. I am not suggesting we go back but, rather, that we look back. When was the last time you read the Constitution of the United States? Have you been to the Statue of Liberty? If you have then you have probably read:
Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she,
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
When did we become a country that wanted to build giant walls to keep out the very "immigrants" that comprise this nation? If memory serves, we spent a great deal of time and effort tearing down walls. Are we, the melting pot of the world, letting our ideals melt away?
The United States has never truly been faced with this kind of economic trial until recent years. With our "place" in the world hanging in the balance, many are left feeling very uncomfortable but it is at times of uneasiness that our strength and character are truly tested. Are we going to fail miserably, shutdown our government and go home and start turning on each other? Or, are we going to rise up, come together, find the solutions and make it work with the same determination of those, "huddled masses yearning to breathe free"?
It is time to start focusing on collective solutions for the greater good. Instead of being a nation divided, we need to come together to find answers or we risk losing a great deal more, in part, due to our constant antagonism.