This I Believe

Fern - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on June 28, 2007

Can the U.S. Rediscover Its Moral Compass—in Time?

The time for apathy is over. As citizens we either start paying attention or wave goodbye to the dream that was America—and our way of life.

It is time for each of us as mature adults to become part of the solution. Every thinking person in this country has a responsibility to help shift the direction of our nation, and to help save our planet.

There was a time when our moral compass held a steady course toward what was right, true and humane. Now the world situation has become a confusing, convoluted and messy quagmire due in part to our government’s foreign policies. Without a score card it’s impossible to follow our country’s complicated wheeling and dealing.

The slippery slope we have been sliding on for some time took another major downturn when we invaded Iraq with questionable intentions, and with no idea of how to win the peace. It continued at Abu Grhaib prison and Guantanamo Bay when we abandoned the Geneva Convention and sunk to the lowest common denominator of humanity and began torturing prisoners.

This is when most thinking U.S. citizens realized that as a nation we had lost our moral compass as well as the respect of many countries around the world.

Where are the outraged voices of our elected officials now? While many forget who they were elected to serve, I believe they give in to “the system” because they don’t know what to do to change the situation or the direction of our nation. And they have no idea if anyone would back them if they tried, and it could be political suicide to go outside the party lines.

Many Americans are confused and have a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. We can no longer trust our leaders or the media, which has become a political tool for the mega conglomerates that now own and control what information we do receive.

If we want the American Dream to continue for future generations, the time to snap out of our apathy is now. I believe the solution is simple. If we want our leaders to have moral and ethical integrity, we must live these qualities ourselves.

If we’re cheating on our spouses, our families, our taxes, our employees, clients and friends, then we will be lenient with dishonest elected officials because we’re doing the same thing. If money and greed are our gods, then we will look the other way when elected officials are accused of selling us out for money. If living in denial is our choice, and we just hunker down and hope that the situation will have no impact on our lives, we ignore the fact that our children, schools, communities, states and nation are floundering.

If our leaders mirror what we are, and I believe this is absolutely true, there is a moral imperative here and the compass points directly to us.

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