There are those, particularly on the political right, who are satisfied with the way things are in the US. They truly believe that everything about the US is better than any other country in the world. And they believe it’s unpatriotic to criticize our faults.
But can we really settle for the way things are in the US?
Can we accept a nation where freedom and opportunity are still not shared equally? Are we willing to allow large, multinational corporations to buy elections, dictate government policy and send our jobs off-shore? Can we afford to watch our nation fall farther behind in education and technology?
Can we afford to allow our infrastructure to continue to crumble? Can we afford to have corporations devastate our environment in search of ever-larger profits? Are we content to allow military-style weapons to fall into the hands of the paranoid and the criminally insane? Can we watch more Aurora and Newtown-style massacres and do nothing?
Can we afford to be perpetually at war? Are we willing to accept that more of our soldiers now die from suicides than firefights? Can we settle for being the only advanced nation in the world that doesn’t provide healthcare to all of its citizens?
Can we accept ever-higher education costs and ever-lower salaries for our youth? Are we willing to cut pensions and retirement plans for our elderly in order for large corporations to avoid taxes? Are we content to put drug users and petty thieves in prison and let the bankers who stole trillions continue to walk free?
Can we any longer listen to those who demand “a return to Christian values” then turn their backs on the starving, the wounded and the infirm?
At his inauguration, President Obama spoke passionately of his vision for America. An America at peace. An America with freedom and equality for everyone. An America based on a growing and prosperous middle class. An America that provides opportunity for everyone. An America that is, once again, a true leader in the world.
It’s time to for all Americans to follow our president’s vision and stop settling.