Monday, November 24, 2014 • 09:20
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What do Americans stand for, and what have we become?


July 09, 2014
I read the article written by Assembly member Marie Waldron in last week's Roadrunner edition. It really got me to start thinking a lot about who we Americans really are and what we have become. Americans have settled for a government in which we have the ability to change by our vote, but, this past electoral turnout was deplorable. It occurs to me that we complain loudly about a non-functional, ineffectual, partisan, self-consumed Congress, but when we have the chance to air our opinions and desires for the type of government we want and need, we seem to pass the buck. We are willing to complain, but not willing to do something to fix it, even something as simple as voting.

We have an illegal immigration problem that needs to be fixed and fixed immediately. Congress knows there needs to be a resolution, but none of our leaders are willing to find one or they lack the courage or competence to get one. We hear a lot of rhetoric and finger pointing, but the problem just seems to get further and further away from a solution. We the voters need to " belly up to the bar" to clean house and elect new Congressional Representatives who have the fortitude and integrity to get business done. After all, that is what we elected them for isn't it? We have the power of the vote to change things, so why don't we? Let's become doers instead of can't doers!

We claim to be a Christian country, but are we truly? Today we have refugee children at our doorsteps. Are they illegal? According to current immigration law, they have no status if they are refugees seeking political asylum. They have to be processed and yet we are turning them away. I could see it if they were adults, but these are children fleeing some pretty horrific conditions in their own country. We can setup hospitals, complete cities in the middle of nowhere half way around the world complete with Burger Kings, so why can't we do that now so that these individuals can be screened for health problems, fed, and sheltered? We have money for war, but none for humanitarian needs? What have we become?

If we are truly a Christian country, then why aren't we helping instead of terrorizing children? What do we stand for? Unless you are a Native American, we all come from some place else. We are a country of immigrants. What happened to the proud American who defended the weak and down trodden? Where is our compassion, our historical sense of humanity, and the legendary generosity in even the hardest of times? In World War II, we took in millions of Europeans who were fleeing because of war. Why is this so different? In the past, we have taken in Koreans, Vietnamese, Hungarians – all fleeing their war-torn countries. Why is this so different? Have we changed that much?

Have Americans lost their sense of purpose, their humanity? I wonder, I truly wonder. I am not an incredibly religious man. I was raised and educated Catholic and still claim the same. A priest once told me that if in life should you come upon a problem that perplexes you, ask yourself, what would Jesus do? He then told me if I see someone in need and I am unsure of what to do to remember this passage from John 3:17-18, " But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth."

We Americans are capable of doing anything we set our minds to. If it means electing new Congressional representatives and regaining a sense of our humanity, compassion and generosity, then it's time for us to roll up our sleeves, forget our differences, demand our leaders do something for the American people, put aside their partisan agendas, and get to work by solving some real problems. Texas to Murrieta; a symptom of failure? No, just a symptom of Americans settling for something mediocre.

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Henson