The future of America?

Where are going as a country? What does our future hold? What will be America’s strengths and weaknesses? What will look as a society? What will drive our economy? Where will our future jobs be? What does the next one hundred years hold in store for our nation? I wrote this question thirteen years ago, questioning the future of America. Now as we just celebrated our nation’s 247th birthday, those questions plus many more are still being argued today, so wouldn’t it be a good idea to look further down the road than the next election?

It’s not so absurd to look at our future in terms of a hundred years. If you are a young parent your newborn has a very good chance to live to the year 2110. What will their life be like? What will the rest of our lives be like in an America founded on principles that a free person, given an opportunity to prosper could succeed beyond imagination?

Our Founding Fathers had a hunch that keeping big government (England at the time) out of the way, people could achieve extraordinary things. They also had a hunch that if people didn’t live up to their responsibility to keep government restricted, the potential for government to gain control over the people instead of the other way around.

Have you read the Declaration of Independence lately? It basically says we cut ourselves free from the heavy handed, over intrusive government of England, then it goes on to list the twenty something reasons (grievances) why we could no longer exist as a society overruled by a so intrusive government.

Yet, here we are again, at the same place in a different time, with lessons unlearned. Stupid, isn’t it? Stupid, aren’t we? Make no mistake about it, we are at a major crossroads and the next few years and what we do and how we vote will map out our course for the next few decades, if not for the next century.

That’s a big responsibility and it falls squarely on our shoulders. If we don’t take on that responsibility with zeal, with determination, with knowledge and vision, others will. Who might those the others be? Well, if we don’t control what our government will look like, the government will.

On the 4th of July I read an interesting column by Ronald Brownstein, a Senior Editor at the Atlantic, who asks us, “Why the US does not get to assume that is lasts forever?”

Brownstein spoke with Alan Wolfe, a Boston University political scientist, who in the 1990s, wrote a book called “One Nation, After All”. He concluded the broad American public was not nearly as divided as its leaders and that average Americans, recognized the importance of finding common ground with others of opposing views. But today Wolfe says, “I really feel like we are becoming two different countries. I don’t like it, but I don’t see what we have in common anymore. I really don’t.”

But, if you like where over-zealous partisanship is taking us, let me save you some time. Stop reading this article and go about your daily routine as a mind-numbed robot who has partaken too much of the political Kool-Aid.

If on the other hand you have legitimate fears about where we re headed as a nation, your time has come. Now is the time for you to get involved, the time for you to make a difference, the time for you to help shape a nation’s future. I know what you are thinking. “What can I do? I’m only one little person in a country with over 300 million. The government is going to do what they want to anyway.”

To you, if you are one of those who think that, I would say; Did you vote in the last election? When was the last city council meeting you attended? When was the last time you went to a county commissioner meeting? When did you last speak to your U.S. or state representative? When was the last time you wrote a letter to them, called them, or sent them an email? When was the last time you wrote a letter to the editor of your newspaper?

We trusted our elected officials to keep our nation secure, free, financially solvent, and to give opportunity to all of us. Our Founders gave us a government to run as we saw fit, not the other way around. And they gave us the power of our vote to change things when we felt we were headed in the wrong direction.

I encourage you to read the Declaration of Independence. Here is a small teaser, written in regards to the government becoming more powerful than the people it governs: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Happy Birthday America! You are 247 years old. You have given us so much and have so much more to give, but only if We The People step up to the responsibilities necessary to ensure you will be here for us for another 247 years.

Will we be more of less divided a hundred years from now? Let me hear from you at gregawtry@awtry.com .

 

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