Thursday, July 4, 2013

What makes a great nation, makes great people

Americans are across the board when it comes to love or loyalty to our nation.
Are we a great benevolent nation, or a nation of tyrants that force our malevolent ways on others?
Did we begin with noble aspirations, or did we greedily grab land from unaware and innocent people?

It's not surprising we have problems today, when shows like South Park or Three and a half men are loved by millions, and young people today don't even know lines like, "Yeah Sarah, Sheriff Taylor here, can you put me through to..."

So, what makes a great nation, and a nation of great people?
I'm going to limit it to only three ideas:
1. Who are our heroes?
2. What do we read?
3. How do we see the future?

#1. The heroes we look up to shape our values, they inspire us to greatness.  We long to imitate the behavior they model.  So, look around...

#2. What we read shapes our thinking.  Are we a literate culture, or one that has tuned out by tuning in too much...  Great thoughts percolate in quality literature, both good works of fiction as well as non-fiction.  Every great leader is a deep reader.

#3. Are we optimistic about our future, or are we on the cusp of fulfilling an Orwellian prophecy?  If you think the best is yet to come, you'll strive to achieve it.  If you think there's no point, you'll drift into apathy.

As a lover of history, I see in America, a nation tottering on a fulcrum.  We have a divided nation, mostly I mean that politically, think CNN vs Fox news as a good indicator...  But, I don't see an energetic nation that has the gumption to overcome the inertia all of our squabbling has generated.   I see a nation of servants, and of takers.  I see a nation of lovers & haters.  Mostly, I see people.  People who need guidance and education, and a spiritual core.  I see people who could "have it all" or who could squander a great opportunity.  

Gandhi said something like, "Be the change you want to see in others." Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free..."  Let's not squander our freedom, not today.

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