Straight to True North

America, Lift Your Head Up!

“If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy

I am believing America is still a safe place to share differing opinions. The following post is an exploration of my changing opinions. Read on if you wish to ponder with me.

On November 9th, the day after the election, I felt the need to post some encouragement on Facebook:

“A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal.” – John Adams’ thoughts on government, 1776

As a parent, I feel the urgency to raise my little ones to value good character and integrity. I am aware that I must look in the mirror first. Children are brilliant at watching, listening, and emulating their mothers and fathers. America, lift your head up. Be an inspiration for our future generations to be intelligent, courageous, and have integrity. Prayers for our leaders! Love for my family of Americans!

On the evening of November 8th, the Canadian Immigration website crashed. I chuckled, but then thought of how many people may be in a panic attack of sorts. Hopefully, the anxiety has come down a notch. I hope people get a chance to detoxify the emotional turmoil I’m sure a lot Americans are feeling right now. Judging by the many days of protest marches/riots, it may take a while.

“Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

Although I wish to be an encourager, I also wish for Americans to be thinkers. My head has been spinning: wondering how in the world did we get here?

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” – Congressman James Garfield, before becoming elected President.

America, wake up! Do the two biggest political parties actually work for the people? Should we be basing our votes on political parties just because they have the money and the power? Or should people educate themselves on who has expertise, virtue and is a good fit for government positions? Perhaps we need to look outside of those parties.

Ever since registering to vote at 18 years old, I have refused to sign allegiance any certain party. I want the freedom to vote for whomever seems best qualified for the job. I feel it is discriminatory that I’m not allowed to vote in the primaries because I’m not identified Republican or Democratic. How is this a fair and free system?

Both dominating political sides have their strengths. Both sides have their corruptions and downfalls. I cannot bring myself to sit in one camp or the other. Why do we tolerate the ignorance, recklessness and corruption in government? Why do we take part in it by voting for them? I have read that Republicans have been the majority in Congress over the past 20 years. Some say they’ve increased the size of government. Doesn’t the Constitution state the laws that are supposed to keep government to its boundaries? Some say the Republicans generally disregard the rule of law under the Constitution on spending, debt, extra bureaus, agencies and programs as well.

I realize this to be a bold statement, but there’s likely some truth to it. I’m sure the Democrats have had their part in general disregard to the Constitution too. It’s easy for people to stray from the law when it doesn’t suit their wishes. I admit that I have leaned toward some of the Republican’s values as they align closer to my own values. And yet, living in the Portland area has made me open to some of their more Democratic ideas as well. But for the first time, with this current election, I want to closely scrutinize our government. Even if I stand alone, I need to figure out where I stand. I cannot turn a blind eye or a deaf ear anymore. Now we know the cost is too high.

“I believe if President Garfield were here today, he would admonish us to declare our independence from political parties, powers and leaders that obviously do not represent our values. When we continue to support, or affiliate with such entities, we become parties to, and responsible for, the ignorance, recklessness and corruption that we authorize by our vote.

It is time for “those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation” to withhold their time, their treasure, and their vote from any who are not clearly and consistently “intelligent, brave and pure,” as President Garfield put it. It is far past the time that we ought to have declared our independence from the established forms of political association that have become destructive of the ends for which they were established, and that we should begin to vote not for party, but for principle, and for men of character who Honor God, Uphold the Constitution and Contend for Liberty.”Robert Peck

The admonition that we should begin to vote not for party, but for principle, resonates with me! Though I would add women of character, not just men.

When the Republican Party was formed in 1854, its primary goal was to prevent the growth of slavery. For a time our freedoms have generally improved. Lately I ask, have our freedoms started diminishing? Should government have it’s current level power over education? Or should the people who actually live in each state and know their students, have more say in how to educate them? Should we really be involved in the UN? The United Kingdom recently exited the European Union (Brexit). There needs to be some sort of boundaries to preserve a country. Things to ponder.

My goal in blogging on this subject is not to convert anyone to my opinions. I aim to provoke thought about how we have gotten into our current situation.

I remember studying our Constitution in school, but I have to say I don’t remember much about it now. Does anyone else know it well unless you have an abnormal memory or you’ve studied to become a lawyer? People who apply for American citizenship have to know the Constitution enough to pass a test. They often know it better than those born here.

I wonder if, concerning driver’s license renewals, there should be a refresher on the rules of the road for drivers? Would the number of accidents might go down if there were a little more accountability to the rules and laws? And what about a refresher and test (for self-knowledge purposes, not to kick you out!) on the laws of our land, and what our government positions truly are purposed for? Yes, it is uncomfortable to “go back to school.” But is there an attitude in America of, “Do you have to make me think? It’s too hard. I don’t want to spend the time. I’d rather watch Netflix.” I confess, it is way easier for me to sit in that mindset myself.
When this country was in it’s beginnings, or when there was more at stake, people were diligent to work and fight and strive for our freedoms. But over time we’ve grown too comfortable riding off of others efforts and opinions. Perhaps we may end up like the people on the spaceship in WALL-E. Everything is automatic and we’re addicted to things like junk food and electronics. I’ve seen posters in physical therapist clinics showing what’s happening to the posture of people staring down at their phones most of the day. Look up, America!

A life lesson I have learned from driving a car is you tend to go where you look. If you look to your right, your body shifts, the steering wheel shifts, and you drift right. If you adjust your rear view mirror for too long, it’s possible to end up in a ditch (true story of a family friend).

You tend to go where you look. If you look at a temptation long enough, you fall into it. I believe if you look up to Jesus and believe and trust him, he lifts you up in spirit.

As a nation, I encourage us to look up to God. For those who choose not to believe in a higher power, at least look around to your community for whomever or whatever inspires us to be intelligent. As uncomfortable as thinking through deeper issues can be, seek further education. Let’s look to whomever inspires us to be brave. Do not let fear paralyze us. And let us look to those who inspire us to be pure – to have integrity in the little things as well as the big. Don’t look down, America. This only leads to self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and gloom. You tend to go where you look. America, lift your head up!

Further quotes from John F. Kennedy:
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you- ask what you can do for your country.”

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie…but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”

Constitutional basics

Fascinating children’s book I found in the library about two presidents who had similar lives 100 years apart:
Lincoln and Kennedy – A Pair to Compare, by Gene Barretta

“Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” – General George Washington

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