In the doom and gloom of today’s politics and media coverage, I can’t help but wish for a spring time for America.
What I want and what I think a lot of other Kent State students want is sunny optimism on behalf of our leaders, who rise to confront our nation’s challenges with a can-do spirit. We want to be informed about and proud of America’s strengths rather than bombarded with stories of her flaws.
We want a leader who calls us to common purpose rather than dividing us among ourselves in superficial social, racial and class divisions.
And it’s past time for this leader to call on us and inspire us in a national dialog about America’s greatness.
It’s past time for a conversation that highlights the justice that’s part of our adversarial legal system and the opportunity for economic success in our quasi-capitalist system.
It’s past time for a conversation that notes America’s unique and special place in the world as a nation where anything is possible so long as an individual is willing to work hard enough and sacrifice enough to achieve his or her goal.
This conversation would make clear that the very heartbeat of our society is freedom from the government and the opportunity to achieve success with our own God-given talents and skills. Americans can, and should, seek success via their own minds and hands and not rely upon the government to give them the stolen profits earned by their fellow citizens.
It’s past time for the great social advances our society has made in terms of race to be recognized. Instances of this advancement can be found in the high public offices blacks have held, and continue to hold, including Clarence Thomas, one of our Supreme Court justices, Condoleezza Rice, our Secretary of State, Colin Powell, our former Secretary of State, and a certain black senator who is running for president.
But, more than just blacks, I think it should be made clear that Hispanics have risen to high office, including Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, congressman and ambassador to the United Nations, and Alberto Gonzalez, our former Attorney General.
Women, too, continue to make advances throughout our society; consider yet another senator running for president.
This conversation should make it clear that America’s traditional family and social values are not outdated and that government should never replace the family and religious ties that have sustained our nation for more than 200 years. It should further make clear that government paternalism and handouts will never adequately replace private charity and communal relationships.
This conversation should note that the U.S. military is the greatest force for freedom and peace the world has ever known, and it should note that Christianity, in the forms of Catholicism and Protestantism, is the greatest humanitarian force at work in the world today.
And, as a final note, this conversation should recognize the great scientific and educational advances our society has made in recent years, including stem cells that do not require the destruction of human life.
It’s past time for this conversation, America, and I, for one, am waiting.
Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]