America has lost her first love.
In a friendly argument with my mother last night, I was forced to define the America of yesterday and contrast it with the America of today. We debated the term "Christian nation" and I wondered about the differences in the world she and I remember and the America we see unfolding before our bewildered eyes.
If America were in a marriage, it would be high time for some counseling.
Watching 9/11 stories made me yearn for the unity that we had during that time, although I was deeply saddened that it came with an unbelievable price. My mother and her generation remember a similar solidarity over the second world war.
Perhaps our rose colored glasses obscure a bit but who does not remember with fondness the solidarity we enjoyed during times of national crisis?
The moral base for our decisions then, and throughout our history (and one might argue, excepting the blight of slavery), was a sturdy and active love for each other simply because we share the identity of 'American'. And behind that moral base was an identity rooted in the preciousness of every human life and the belief in the freedom of the individual. Lest you mistake my meaning, the preciousness of all human life and the freedom of the individual derives from our Creator. And so, as my mother and I agreed, throughout our history our nation was characterized and informed by "Christian values". The ability to "love your neighbor as yourself" is perhaps the pinnacle of a successful society.
We are now on the precipice of a national divorce. News stations pit story against story, and people march in the street over their particular brand of lifestyle demands. It's the government's fault. "It's Washington" says Washington. It's Fox News. Its CNN. It's the President. It's Hilary. It's the schools. Ascribing blame to an untouchable villain is an effective way to sidestep my responsibility. But it feels so good to tell it.
It sounds an awful lot like the garden.
It was the woman.
It was the serpent.
I imagine a scenario during 9/11 where no one helps their neighbor because they don't share the same political or religious beliefs. That would be the true nightmare.
We are in that crisis. Yes, we have severe political division. Yes, we disagree sharply on major lifestyle issues. Are they irreconcilable? Not if love covers a multitude of sins.
Hand wringing might satisfy for a moment, but it accomplishes nothing positive. We are not asked to police some person we see on YouTube. We are confronted only with our neighbors, co-workers and our families. Loving them truly takes all our time anyway. It's time to remember who we are and be it.