America is at a crossroads in its history, and I believe there is an opportunity to go forward and shape the future. I am convinced this is a message that is needed for America, perhaps now more than ever. We have an opportunity to turn a pivotal corner in our society. In my estimation, the United States is the greatest nation on earth, but there are times when the nation seems irretrievably broken. Our leaders seem to make decisions that erode the fabric of society. All too often, the country seems to respond to issues across ethnic, religious, or political lines rather than basing decisions on what is right, moral, legal, and ethical. Even as I post this blog, we are divided over the budget, immigration, and border security to name a few. The sad thing is that I believe we have the capability to solve each of the issues I have just named, but because the nation is not first, we most likely will not get it done.

A divided nation cannot stand, and one individual or group of people is not enough to repair its cracks. It will take a nation coming together to stand. We must put party lines behind us and do what it is right for the nation.  As a military veteran of more than thirty-three years, I understand what it means to sacrifice in service to others. I know about giving oneself to great causes, such as participating in the defense of our nation, serving in wars away from family, and putting the needs of the nation before personal gain. My view of America as the greatest nation on earth may sound like American exceptionalism, but in this instance, I believe America, along with other nations that espouse democracy, honor, moral courage, and justice, is a special nation. I know that other people believe their country is the greatest nation on earth, but when you think of the opportunities available in America and its contributions to the world, one simply has to acknowledge that America is indeed among the greatest nations in the history of the civilized world, if not the greatest. I know this comment will cause some controversy, but I believe in America, and I hope you do as well. Let’s cry aloud for change in our nation while we still can and our voices are not suppressed.  This is without a doubt the land of opportunity, the home of the brave, and the land of the free. As we say in the military, America is the land of the free because of the brave—those who fight for freedom. But we are also the land of the free because of great political and religious leaders who have sacrificed much to ensure America would be great. Further, we are the land of the free because of all Americans who make the nation great. Each person in America makes an invaluable contribution to society and to the well-being of this nation, with each person doing his or her part, big and small.

The world looks to America because the nation is special and unique and plays a major role in the future of our world. The United States leads the world in humanitarian outreach, democracy, and financial aid and supports the world’s largest economy and most powerful military.  We make no excuses, and indeed America is not perfect, but it is a nation that strives to grow and develop, and its citizens are grateful for that. We are a nation of destiny born out of purpose in that the United States is unique for its opportunities and social mobility.

However, I and many would argue that our nation is not where it needs to be in terms of equality, fairness, and prosperity for all. Many point to the racial divide, the hatred, and the heinous crimes we sometimes commit against one another. There is still much evidence that covert discrimination and unfair treatment exist, and these realities hinder the growth of America. These grievances happen in all walks of life; they happen to the rich and the poor alike, to people of all hues and ethnicities, and to all genders. The impact affects all economic, educational, physical, and emotional facets of life and well-being. A case can be made that our nation can improve in many areas. As the leader of the free world, America must now move even further up the moral plane toward harmony and respect for all. It is through respect, that we can close the divide in America and solve major problems today. Many might say this is an arrogant statement, but I do not believe it to be so. America has done much to overcome discrimination, prejudice, and racism. I am fully convinced that America has grown tremendously in many areas of equality, fairness, and prosperity for all, yet there is more work to be done.  Together we Stand!

(Excerpts from the Courage to Stand: A New America)

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