This post has been on my mind for awhile now and I finally decided to write it. Growing up in the United States of America, we’re taught things like: “America is the greatest nation in the world,” and that “Immigrants came to America for a better life.” We grow up hearing of the American Dream–a better life filled with freedoms and prosperity that other countries don’t have. We’re taught it almost as if it were absolute.
In 1775, the people of the Thirteen Colonies came together and fought for the right to be their own country, to govern and live in a way that benefited them. They established a Democracy that would come together to make decisions for The People. This Revolution helped light a spark across the world for the same thing–most notably the French Revolution. Nearly a hundred years later, they were at war with each other over the rights of living humans. In 2001, we came together as a Nation, proud once more to stand beside our fellow American, the ties of patriotism strengthened by tragedy and injustice. Now, only nineteen years later, we are once more at war with each other over the rights of humanity and what defines a living person. The eyes of the world are once again upon us and we’re the comedy that fills their days.
What was the dream of a country that is ‘For the People, By the People’ has become a power struggle on every level. Each side defames and decries the other side. It is always This Side’s or That Side’s fault. There is no meeting of the minds to come up with an actual solution that benefits and elevates the life of the country. “We, the People” has become “We, the Powers”. There is no compromise anymore. The vision of our Founding Fathers has officially become obsolete. We can’t even come to a decision that may benefit our neighbor no matter how uncomfortable or unbelieving of the situation we are!
I think of Rome, once the greatest Empire. Rome was not built in a day and neither did it fall in a day, no matter the saying. The structure of it corrupted over time until one-by-one, the foundational legs it was built on crumbled. I wonder what the ancient countries of the world thought as they watched Rome implode and die.
We need a true meeting of sides. We need a true Democracy where we come together and we think long term for the life of our nation and the life of American citizens, whomever they may be and wherever they come from. Perhaps the early political parties had it correct in that the Vice President was the losing Presidential Candidate. Maybe then both parties would be forced to work together once more for the good of We, the People.
When did the Powers-that-be everywhere forget that their power is to serve and not lord over? This doesn’t just go for the political arena, either. When I say powers-that-be everywhere, I mean everywhere. When did we, the average citizen, forget to be compassionate and humane to the people who share our world, no matter the differences we have with them?
Maybe the American Dream should really be labeled the American Lie. What lies did Rome tell itself as it began to crumble? What lies will we continue to believe to fill the holes that have been revealed in our own country? My heart aches for the loss of the dream that we have never truly achieved. Like Rome, we are crumbling, even if we don’t want to admit it. And I have to wonder if the world laughed as Rome crumbled and fell, too.