As you might have been able to tell from the radio silence, I’ve taken this summer as a break from column writing. But there’s just something about the Fourth of July that I couldn’t help but reignite the Bar-On Brief.
The United States is a world superpower. There is no other country that has the capability to destroy us without taking the whole world down along with us. But Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
This country is in turmoil. Aside from the 1860s, this is a time when this country is as divided as can be. Party ideology is at its greatest polarization in modern history, the Republican party itself is split and the Democratic party is searching for a leader among the struggle to regain power. Less than one in four Americans approve of the sitting president, the press is in disarray and we are faced with challenges at home and abroad.
Let’s be real, will a few flying sparks unite us today? Will the flag that so many reject bring this country together? I am not that naive. I know there is no way a single day can make this country whole again.
I recently witnessed a comment war on Twitter regarding one of the President’s tweets. A user published a tweet affirming one of the president’s actions and praised Trump. Another Twitter user responded by saying “you are one of those no-followers Twitter users whose only purpose is to praise the president.” The original commenter responded by saying, “and you’re just another one of those Twitter users with a blue checkmark next to his name whose only job is to attack the president.”
This simple exchange is eye opening. This election exposed the division cutting through the country at the root of our differences. Each side of the aisle and each side of every ideological debate is composed of people who believe with all their might that their side is absolutely, morally and justifiably right. There is very little one can say to convince the pro-life movement that abortions come nowhere close to murder. There is virtually nothing one can say to an unemployed factory worker to justify his firing in the name of “environmental regulation.” It is insanely difficult to get a minimum wage worker and a business owner to agree on raising or lowering the hourly rate.
Naturally, one side will of each ideological issue will prevail at any given moment in time. In your eyes, the “wrong” side may be in power currently. But four years ago, others believed the “wrong” side was in power as well. I was once told, if you want change, look to politics but if you want transformation, look for a revolution.
Revolutions take time. Changes are always underway, and ideological revolutions are slowly but surely making their way across this country as you read this. American public schools were ordered to be desegregated just over 60 years ago. Just two years ago, the LGBTQ+ movement saw an enormous national victory when the Supreme Court recognized their inherent right to marry. But these were both political changes, not ideological revolutions. The latter is yet to come for both.
Patience is most definitely a virtue. The most cowardice act an individual or a group can do is to give up when things aren’t going their way. All this talk of rejecting the country, lowering the American flag and refusing to identify as American is spitting in the faces of our Founding Fathers. The United States of America is a country, one that has no feelings, morals or beliefs. Remember, “America” did not fail you. Rather America is what gives you an opportunity to fix it.
The famous saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I would add an amendment that says, “if it is broke, do fix it.” Last I heard, we do not run from injustice; we stay and transform it into justice. Imagine if instead Martin Luther King Jr. saying “I have a dream” he said “I quit” and he left. Imagine if Kennedy said, “It’s not what you can do for your country; it’s what your country can do for you.”
By no means is what I’m saying an easy task to accomplish. It takes great courage to fight injustice and to be the minority opinion. This country will remain the land of the free, but only if it remains the home of the brave. Be the brave.
I assure you that liberty and justice for all will come. These are, after all, the words by which our country was founded on. So do not blame the country for the injustice in the world or in your life. In fact, do not waste your time finding who to blame. Instead, fight to make the America of your dreams a reality. Happy Fourth, America.
And with that, I rest my case.