While you were fighting over who should use what bathrooms at Target, we lost our country.
While you were arguing with coworkers over who would leave the country first if Trump/Clinton were elected, the “American Dream” perished.
Don’t believe me? Then perhaps ALL is lost. And I can prove it all to you through the eyes of a child.
The screens around our house in the past couple of weeks stand in stark contrast to what’s in front of them.
The television … the laptops … the iPads … the cell phones … filled with images of the attacks around the world. Day in and day out, we hear stories about “refugees” pouring into the United States. Broadcast are the sounds of tone-deaf leaders. Of anger. Of hatred. Of hurt. Of fear.
In front of those screens runs our little daughter. Just over a year old, she’s the greatest blessing a young family can have. She’s filled with innocence, love, joy and our hopes for the future.
But there was a lull in the media noise on Sunday when we attended Mass. Our priest usually preaches about love. Faith. Hope. But there was a different dynamic this week.
There was a different energy.
This time, he talked about the end of times.
Our priest is far from being an alarmist. Just the opposite. But this particular Mass, he spoke deeply and heavily about being prepared. “For we know not the hour … ”
He wasn’t trying to frighten people. But he also understood that he couldn’t be tone-deaf to the deep concerns of his flock.
It’s hard not to be afraid. It’s hard not to have an underlying anxiety. It’s hard not to wonder and pray over whether your children will have the same opportunities you did.
Growing up, I paid close attention in history class. And I’ve always felt a very deep sense of patriotism. I’ve always felt great respect for my country and believed that if, God forbid, we ever faced World War III, America would once again triumph.
Perhaps my fear, and the anxiety of so many others, is that we were wrong.
We were wrong because of one simple line that I believe may have been written wrong. It should have read, “One Nation, Divisible After All.”
Have we ever faced a time when our country was so polarized? Have we ever faced enemies so dangerous? Have we ever been on such a precipice that a frightening and painful energy radiated through each of us, tying us together in some disturbing, unifying, powerful and yet simultaneously divisive way?
I’m angered to see that we live in a country where we have gone soft. We’ve become hypocrites, and we’ve become pansies.
We forget that our grandfathers stormed beaches to protect freedom. Instead, we demand that the freedom now come in the form of a shelter from hearing words we don’t like.
We flip out because our $7 coffee comes in a red cup.
We cancel concerts and cost people jobs because we don’t agree with a law that the people of the state passed.
We care more about protecting where someone can take a leak than we care about the safety of our children. OUR CHILDREN.
We give out trophies to kids who come in 8th place. Eighth freaking place.
We dig up the graves of people who have been dead for a hundred-plus years because they had something to do with the Confederate flag, and that offends someone NOW.
We say we hate what Democrats have done to the country, so we elect a House and Senate full of Republicans who proceed to also place THEIR heads up their collective asses as well. It seems as if both parties forgot what they were supposed to be doing and whom they are supposed to be representing.
We pick sides and parties and teams and defend them to the ends of the Earth, ignoring the facts, pointing the fingers and hoping someone else will cover the cost of our skyrocketing and borderline pointless health insurance.
We talk about the number of homeless vets who we have to feed and clothe and house when it’s convenient for us to leverage them like pawns in a game – yet tomorrow, so many will forget to feed and clothe and house them.
We ignore the simple facts about our dangerously open borders and the lack of a vetting process for refugees, then we stand in horror as ISIS attacks and we ask our politicians how they could have let this happen. And then, of course, we put a fast lane in for more to cross the border.
We put in place more gun laws to prevent the bad guys from doing bad things. Because for some reason, we believe that bad guys give a damn about laws and that giving them an open shooting range on a military base or school campus will somehow protect our citizens. But then we completely ignore the massive problem of mental health in this country. We’re more worried about the tool than we are the person.
We cry out that police are our enemies … and then we beg them to protect us from the likes of ISIS.
We celebrate court rulings with rainbow flags that speak volumes about how far we’ve come and how inclusive we are as Americans … then we tell our neighbors to remove their American flags and stop saying “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” because it offends us.
We send billions of dollars overseas to help the homeless in impoverished and war-torn nations while we cut the funding for our own food banks and homeless programs.
We get into fistfights about “under-inflated balls” while gorging ourselves on beer and wings at football games … while millions of Americans wonder how they’re going to pay their mortgage and put food on the table for their families.
We fight tooth and nail over whether someone dying of stage four pancreatic cancer should be allowed to use medical marijuana while drugs like heroin are running rampant in our schools.
We teach kids that there should be no boys section or girls section at the store, but our kids notice that we won’t sit down with our neighbor for a beer because they have a different skin color and we’re too busy fighting over what is and isn’t racism.
We hold massive rallies demanding $15/hour for flipping burgers … but we sit quietly on the sidelines when our men and women protecting our country who make $11/hour aren’t getting paid because Congress is debating their funding.
We change our profile pictures to colors that represent solidarity with a country that was attacked by terrorists … then we attack our neighbors for being concerned that the same could happen here.
We’re terribly focused on what matters to us as individuals. Marriage. Cell phones. Birth control. On and on and on. We’re so worried about what matters to “me” that we forgot that in order for us to have a “me” … we have to first have an “us.” A safe “us.” A unified “us.” An “us” that can at least find some kind of middle ground.
Tomorrow is a new day. So tonight, before bed, we pray … just a little harder, perhaps, than we’ve prayed before.
We put our daughter to sleep and shut off the television. The internet. The phones. The iPads. All screens but the black and white monitor where we can see nothing but innocence. And for a moment, just one fleeting, precious moment, we’re once again one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything in this article. But if even a piece of it resonated with you, please share it with others and ask them to do the same. It’s time we start having some very difficult and very real conversations. I hope this helps start that.