Many of us feel trapped in social disorder and a slowly suffocating economy. Ours is a predicament that seems to be sliding toward disintegration. Foreboding weighs on the soul. These feelings are not unreasonable, but let’s try to take a step back and look at the whole picture.
I submit that the collapse of the old order and the birth of something good and revitalized are both happening at the same time.
This is hard to see when we are confronted daily by the degradation of what we have always known.
A dysfunctional past must collapse before a revitalized nation can turn the corner and strive for a principled and productive future. But there is no reason to wait for the bottom.
I have no hidden agenda. I do not propose a social or political prescription for the American future. Rather, I seek the restoration of a spirit and character that we can respect, support and believe in.
We are at a turning point. We have entered a window of opportunity when it will be possible to reaffirm the vision and principles that have made this nation a beacon of hope to the world for 200 years. And, it is an opportunity that may not come again.
I have shared with you some of the reasons why I believe we are in trouble. And I have shared my conviction that we must look toward a future beyond the crisis.
Most readers are aware that I have avoided addressing partisan issues, and I have done so for a reason.
I have personal views and opinions. My intention, however, is to call Americans to join forces with one another despite our great differences, to identify a broadly understood shared purpose and seek the means to rebuild the foundations of the Republic.
If courage and patience fail us, if we are unwilling to understand, influence and collaborate with those who offend us, we could lose everything.
Our responsibility is to ensure that America comes through this great turning point with purpose, committed to building the kind of future we want to live in. This depends on each of us individually.
Without a determined effort based on shared purpose, a secure and civilized future will not be possible.
Looking ahead, we cannot know exactly how things will play out. How long will these fragile conditions continue before an unexpected shock knocks down this house of cards?
We cannot know the extent to which we will be forced to struggle with the remnants of the economic past. We cannot foresee how social deterioration or the degradation of infrastructure and environmental systems will challenge our resourcefulness.
We can no longer have confidence in government to maintain order or meet emergency needs. Whatever comes our way, we are on our own. Only the strength of well-organized local communities can be depended on.
We need to unify our local neighborhoods and communities around problem-solving and meeting local needs. This is where we have the power and capacity to take matters into our own hands. And we need to get on with it.
Effecting change on a national level will be far more difficult and the means for doing so more complex and political.
The financial elite will remain in control until they lose control. As long as financial collapse is avoided the global economy will remain trapped by financial interests that have attention only for their own short-term gain and are oblivious to the implications of structural change.
However frightening the disruptions of the near future, we would do well to recognize the unique opportunity this represents. Most human beings are only willing and able to consider constructive change when societal assumptions are shaken.
As I have said, the time to gather people together, to engage in creative thinking and positive action, to identify shared values and embrace a shared vision – might not come twice.
Building community with our neighbors will not only increase safety and security for our families, but will also provide a forum for dialog and problem-solving that will carry us forward through the storm.
Please watch for the next post on or about October 11.