November 2008

It Could Be Worse: You Could Give Up

Author: Craig Hysell

Look, we all know it’s bad out there. Our country is getting its collective economic/philosophical ass kicked. Greed, bad decisions, self-interest and a disappointing lack of both political and financial leadership (i.e. guidance and accountability) has left us with the bitter taste of distrust on our tongues.

Anybody who cannot admit by now that our great country is broken is either too proud or too ignorant, and certainly not a majority representation of the American people. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and quit. When has quitting ever been an option or hailed as an American virtue?

Patriotism is often twisted into a “love it or leave it” mentality, which is a glaring condemnation of democratic principle. Patriotism in the United States is not love it or leave it; patriotism, in this country, means that if it’s broken, you have the guts to stand up, take the problem in your hands and do your very best to amend the situation so that the majority may receive the benefit of the few.

People often use the term “idealist” as a slanderous remark. Yet it is, and always has been, idealism that has made this country great. It can also keep it that way. It’s a process that takes what it always has: you, pride and selflessness.

??“I must decline as inapplicable to myself any share in the personal emoluments which may be indispensably included in a permanent provision for the executive department.”??—George Washington, rejecting his compensation for being President of the United States in his 1789 Inaugural Address.

??“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”??—Frederick Douglass, former slave turned abolitionist and vice presidential nominee under Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president, on the Equal Rights Party ticket in 1872.

??“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”
“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”??—Robert Kennedy, assassinated on June 5, 1968, while campaigning for the presidency.

??“He who has gold makes and accomplishes whatever he wishes in the world and finally uses it to send souls to paradise.”??—Christopher Columbus, credited in some circles for discovering the New World in 1492, and responsible for policies aimed at the torturous subjugation, slavery and genocide of 8,000,000 Haitian Indians in the name of treasure. By 1555 there were no Indians left. The United States still celebrates a national holiday in Columbus’ honor every year.

??“That I am not a member of any Christian Church is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general or of any denomination of Christians in particular.”
“When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.”??—Abraham Lincoln, shot in the back of the head, April 14, 1865 (Good Friday) by a baptized Episcopalian on the grounds that he was a tyrant.

??“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”??—John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States.

You are at the feet of history. The most important vote in the last 40 years arrives on November 4. You are not just voting for yourself, but your nation. Cast your petty self-interests aside, educate yourself and vote for the presidential ticket you feel will effect the most progress for the greatest good. Change starts with you. It always has. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Or are you a quitter?

Let Us Know what You Think ...

commenting closed for this article