Over the last few years the Left and Religious Right have waged war on each other over the labeling of the United States. Is it a Christian nation? Or was it founded by agnostics seeking to be free from religious tyranny?
Regardless of the faithful (or faithless) foundations laid down for this country, what I do know is that America was founded* and pioneered by a people who were motivated, willful, visionary, and ambitious.
What happened to their descendants?
These people spent weeks on ships, not really knowing if they would ever see land again, beached on the shore of a wild and unknown place, looked at the 3.5million square miles and said “Yes. We will make a life and a country out of this place.”
Kids today drive past the McDonald’s if the drive-thru window has 2 cars waiting at it.
So where did Americans go sideways? What happened to the pioneering fire? The ambitious drive? If a man couldn’t provide for his family back then, they starved, and if they were lucky, they sent the kids to live with a wealthy aunt in South Carolina. There were consequences, if you will, for not working or providing.
But they weren’t opposed to work either. If someone couldn’t work, it generally meant something catastrophic had happened. Because if someone chose not to work, he knew the “consequences” and accepted that.
Can we find the vision again? Can we inspire and motivate? Can we build this country into the future with the traits that landed on the eastern shore 500 years ago?
They are mighty big shoes to fill, but it certainly can’t hurt to try.
*I write this with the European settlers in mind. I do acknowledge, full-well, however, that the “Native Americans” were comfortably living here prior, and a notable portion of this country’s people claim this ancestry.