To the Editor:
What is America? Never having the benefit of a civics lesson, most today would likely say it’s a country bordered by oceans and includes a collection of states.
Through a catchy 'Schoolhouse Rock' melody many years ago, some may have also learned that America is governed by three equal branches of government via a Constitution.
Although some may argue that these things are factual, nothing could be further from the truth.
Different than any other nation in the history of the world, America is an idea. Similar to the ideas of liberty, justice, truth and freedom, her condition can only exist when her precepts are faithfully carried out by the actions of her people. Through this fidelity, America, as a nation, has grown to become the most powerful force for good the world has ever seen - by all measures.
At a granular level, the machine that makes the condition of America come into existence is self-governance; that being the cautious and measured granting of power to the government by the people. Although there are many, one natural byproduct of this process is freedom; our ability to speak, worship, and navigate our lives in the pursuit of happiness. Individual freedom, however, naturally exposes the differences between us.
Although some may argue these divisions are what makes America weak, the truth is precisely the opposite. The honest debate of ideas isn’t a nuisance of freedom, but a requirement to ensure the continuous reaffirmation of values and a path forward.
When this debate honestly spawns a need for change, we have the ability to choose and elevate our neighbors to positions of governance to carry out our collective will. Nothing is more beautiful, and no other process is greater in making the condition of America real.
This condition will cease to exist, however, and the nation, with her name behind it, should self-governance end. When people lose their ability to select and promote their neighbors, they lose not only their voice but their power.
Should our relied-upon system of checks and balances fail to safeguard this authority, the forces that create this vacuum have an autocratic rule, and the people, again, will become slaves.
Throughout history, the hard-fought ebb and flow of ideologies have been a good test of American mettle, and the temporary distaste sometimes created typically fades as we look, hopefully, to the next debate and election.
Be vigilant; should attempts be made to take the people’s power, they must rise to reclaim their authority, or the condition of America dies in their idleness.