It has been exhausting lately.
For those of us who think, who can’t help but ask questions. Those of us who are constantly wondering if we got it right, if we worked out the correct solution. For us, these last couple of years have been wrenching, bewildering, down right draining.
Every week has been a trial. One more outrage, one more impossible lie, one after another. At first it was the prevarications themselves that were too much, but then came the sheer rush of them. Then they congealed into hordes of fatuous behaviors committed by crews of shameless idiots powered by their own disconnection to reality.
You know of what I speak. Of whom.
Those of us thinking, questioning Americans know of only one, lurking, malevolent presence that captures our thoughts and worries. There is only one.
And the fact that you know of whom I write means that, yes, you are one of thinking people. You too, have faced the unanswered questions. Starting with: Why do we Americans have to sustain so much pain and confusion?
There are more technical questions. There are questions that get at mechanics, and sociology, and political economics. These will become great scholarly works a hundred years from now, complete with lengthy bibliographies and primary sources unearthed by months of archival searches.
But now, we wrestle with a simpler question: Why has this disease befallen our nation?
Whether or not we are discussing it openly, it tortures us questioning people. Because at our core, we have not a question, but a belief that America is better. We believe that America is not subject to the same ills as other nations. To simply say, “Our Founding Fathers” and to imagine white-wigged men in Philadelphia signing the Constitution enables us to believe our nation is above it all.
The legend of our beginnings – it didn’t matter whether or not it was entirely truthful – became a rocket fuel that powered American exceptionalism and the ability to do great things no people before had ever done. We shed the weight of the world’s reality and sought greatness simply because we believed these truths to be self-evident.
For these beliefs, we did not question. We simply did.
But now the malevolence, the one you and I know so well, has caused us to question our founding beliefs.
Are we so different? Maybe America was like everyone else all along. Maybe we are just another geographic anomaly, sketched into maps with imaginary lines drawn in elite salons far removed from reality. Like every other fantasy creation we call “countries” we are simply rubes and fools packed together by lies, corruption, and onanist self-congratulators.
How can we say we’re any different?
I say no. No!
We Americans are different.
The very basis of American exceptionalism is not that we simply say a thing. It’s that we say a thing and that we mean it. We see it through. Our faith, our Americanness means that we make sure the cavalry does ride in to save the day. We believe the good and right thing will happen and then we break every bone in our bodies to make sure it does.
Meanwhile, our questions, while well-intended, have become unbalanced.
While we focused on asking hard questions, we have forgotten our faith in American greatness. And questions without faith is merely cynicism, a self-corroding disease of its own.
The malevolence afflicted America because we let it. We allowed our cynicism to overtake us. First, we stopped believing that we could do great, then we stopped being great, and so the darkness came. The malevolence went so far as to turn the word “great” into one of its lies.
Is this simplistic? Yes. But the more complicated answers are better sought by sociologists, political economists and the like. We should focus on the basic thing: That a truly great people should expect truly great work and truly great ideas. True greatness is not manufactured and advertised on TV. It is hewn and crafted in communities and on kitchen tables. We know we have been offered falsehoods in greatness’ stead. It is beneath us.
Yes, we are knee deep in problems created by our national malevolence. But let us lift our eyes to the future. An election is coming. Our chance for greatness returns. Let us breathe deep and take grasp of our opportunity to be the people we always knew we were.
November. November. It calls us to a new beginning.