A Nation Without Vision: A Return to Principle

WRITING EXERCISE OF THE DAY:
“I stand for _________”

Dear Students,
There is crazy stuff happening in the world right now; I am appalled by the president’s comments this week concerning the NFL and Stephen Curry. Not only this, but over the weekend, a US bomber jet flew right off the coast of North Korea. North Korea’s foreign minister has made a statement that Kim Jong Un considers Trump’s recent actions as “a declaration of war”.
Dear students: this is the time to bring it in. If I feel scared about all of this, I imagine many of you do, too. I don’t know what to do about the North Korea issue, however, I do know that we need to come together as a nation. We need to heal, as a people, before we can pursue a vision for our country. American politics is so unstable right now because the American people are very confused. We are not choosing our politicans out of principle… we have been choosing our politicians out of utility or out of fear. Our government represents the people, and our congress is a mirror that we can’t stand to look at.
We are very confused about our vision for the future. As we become increasingly aware of our place in history, the weight of centuries-worth of human error is suffocating us. As America has become a more educated populace, we are plagued by the anxiety of knowing exactly how far previous generations have fallen. Slavery, torture, corruption, and manipulation, are among the many traumatic realities we’ve had to confront about our government. Trauma is repetitive in nature, therefore, constantly revisiting it triggers tremendous anxiety in us. We need to acnkowledge the trauma, and then choose something better in order to move on. So what will we choose?What are we about? What do we stand for? What would we like the 21st century to look like? We have to figure that out together. America needs group therapy because we are all very confused; we need to return to principle.
The best option we have right now is not to be afraid or angry, but , rather, to choose something greater: compassion, gratitude, or a dedication to liberty and justice for all. This choice is important because there is a profound difference between being for something and against something; there is a profound difference between being pro- something and anti-something. That is, all I’ve seen in our political discourse is people being againstsomething else. All I’ve seen are messages against “the other side”. I’m not seeing many messages for a better vision. First of all, there is no other side; the idea of “the other” only divides. There is no “other side”, only people. Fundamentally, we are not the demons we charaterize eachother to be; we are all human beings, and it seems as though many of us have forgotten that. To see a better world, we need to stop asking ourselves what we are against, and ask ourselves what we are for. Without a vision for what we want, rather than what we don’t want, we are a directionless and suffering people. I believe it’s possible for us to turn things around because I know what’s in the Heart of this country.
I believe that we are capable— as a generally loving, generous, hard-working people— of making our Democracy work. Our founders had a seemingly impossible vision of a nation-state where people could live with dignity, as individuals together. Humans have practiced democracy for thousands of years: evidence exists that some ancient hunter-gatherer tribes used democratic methods for decision making. That is, decisions were reached by consensus or majority. These tribes were usually made up of people with familial ties. From this, it is logical to assume that democracy, in various forms, arises naturally among a well-bonded group or tribe. Although we aren’t a blood-related tribe, we are relatives in terms of values and principles. At least, that’s what our founders envisioned. If we returned to principle, I think we’d be less inclined towards war and violence. Instead, we might prioritize humanitarian efforts, diplomacy, or even neutrality in response to our most primal instincts. I don’t know if we’re all capable of prioritizing our principles, but I believe we could all benefit from trying.

 

-Ms. Truly

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