Views of Sali Cosford Parker
Our “Great Experiment” in equality and democracy is foundering, and we are sitting front-row-center. As a historian, I find these seats a fascinating observation point. As an American, I find the cost of the seats too dear and the show nothing short of horrific.
Of course, what is happening on our stage is nothing new. Civilizations and governments rise and fall. The struggles between innocence and corruption, idealism and greed, the haves and have-nots are as old as mankind. But this time it’s personal – this time it’s us.
Sadly, it appears my generation bears significant responsibility for the state of affairs in America. We had the courage of our convictions once. We rose up by the thousands and stood strong (if not always wisely) against segregation and wars we didn’t believe in. For a while we were true to the immigrants and patriots who spawned us. But somewhere along the way we got lost – to drugs, sex, and ultimately, the lure of six-figure incomes.
Our priorities changed. We close our eyes to CEO’s making hundreds of millions of dollars a year while their employees lose jobs, benefits and pensions. We allow our elected officials to vote themselves raises, and participate in rich benefit and retirement programs paid for, but not available to their fellow Americans. We allow idiots (of all parties) to run for office and are satisfied to vote for the “least-worst” candidate.
Our values changed. Our social conscience is satisfied by tossing a few dollars to the United Way and adopting a “less fortunate” family at Christmas. Meanwhile, on any given night, 700,000 to 2 million Americans are homeless – 27 percent of which are children under 18.
We complain about all of these things and more, but seldom stir ourselves to act. It takes events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina to get us off our fat backsides, but even then our attention is short-lived. We are complacent, self absorbed and self-indulgent.
My generation has forgotten that our most important responsibility as Americans is the jealous guardianship of our collective rights –guardianship against all comers, foreign and domestic. In our forgetting are the seeds of the American tragedy. Assuring the growth of those seeds is our neglect in communicating the urgency of guardianship to our children.
To quote Mad Eye Moody – “Vigilance! Constant vigilance!”
This was written as a comment and found it so well written and thought provoking I’m including it as a Blog. I would appreciate more thoughts of the younger generation as I’m two generations behind. Thanks to Sali.