Searching for the American values we once held true
Each evening I spend more time than I should channel surfing, mostly between the cable news stations. Last night was rather disappointing as only one news story was discussed — the decapitation of our sitting American President.
Seeing the graphic, bloodied image your country’s leader, being held by a “comedian” sets a new low for a society that has made a living of reaching new lows.
Sometimes I feel like we’ve become so desensitized as a people. We can tolerate almost anything. Sex on TV and commercials is a new norm. Phrases we found offensive just a generation ago is part of everyday dialogue.
I know. I sound like a prude. You only hear this from grandparents who want to turn back the hands of time. While we have advanced as a country in so many progressively positive ways, there are some values for which we should hold true. Those values that we once regularly turned to, and helped make us the country we’ve become.
In this century, your right is the right way, and so is mine. There is no wrong. This new truth makes it difficult to engage in an honest conversation about the values for which we would like to believe are American.
What are American values? I can think of those ingrained in us for so long that we can recite them by memory. We are hard working people, independent, competitive, and driven. Still, there exist those that I think are more important because they speak to us from a much deeper place.
Those values that define us as individuals and shape our communities. The values that we hold close to our heart. They aren’t the kind that we came up with on our own. They were given to us by our ancestors who have carried them since the beginning of time.
We can argue from time to time what we believe is the correct course for our country, or who should lead us as decision makers. Sometimes we’re up, and sometimes we’re down. Shouldn’t some things remain constant, never changing?
If everything changes, then so do we as people. The vision that formed this new and exciting idea we call America will soon be lost, forgotten.
If everything changes, then so do we as families. The principles that were once universally agreed upon will be transformed into new standards for a new people.
Change can be good in so many ways. We accept and appreciate each other like never before. We exist with people that look and sound different from us. We listen to people and thoughts we once couldn’t understand. Progress is good when progress helps elevate our core values.
But what are our core values? Does anyone know? They aren’t the ones that produce beheaded images of Presidents. They aren’t the ones that have led generations of young people to years of incarceration.
Our core values are there, but they are hidden by a layer of temporary ideas that we feel we need to believe in to not offend each other. We’re afraid to be right because that makes someone wrong, and that’s too much to handle these days.
Turn off the TV for a moment and think about those basic, fundamental principles you know exist deep inside. Find them and bring them out, share them with everyone around you. If we all do this, maybe that picture we saw earlier this week will never be seen again.