I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in a country I was proud of, the United States of America. I said the Pledge of Allegiance every day at school. We learned to say all the names of the presidents in the order they served in America, the country in which I was born. We sang the names in a song, and every time I sang the song, I was proud of them, the men who represented our Nation. They were about service, a deep commitment to our laws, a respect for the Constitution of the United States of America.
They weren’t perfect men but they were men who put their Country first, above their own selfish interests and party. They were dedicated to making the United States a place of opportunity, freedom, respect for others, helping those who needed a helping hand. They believed that in serving the American People, facts were important, truth was necessary, and what was right must prevail. They believed a man’s word was his bond, that honor was important, and most of all, they believed one should never betray the Trust of the American People.
These men knew that the right to vote was sacred and no one should lie, cheat, or steal, manipulate the votes in an American election. Falsehoods had no place in the Government. They trusted that the three main branches of the United States Government would see that the people’s voices were heard and their needs would be addressed. That those three branches would work together as intended to find solutions for all the people. They believed the United States Government would serve the American people with integrity, compassion, and respect. They also believed in protecting the American People from harm. These men could be trusted to do the right thing. I was proud of my country back then, proud of the men in congress, proud of the Presidents as the years went by.
In the year 2016, changes occurred in the United States. The Nation started to slide down hill and the years that followed were filled with laws being broken, elections manipulated, other countries interfering with American elections, and candidates for office being slandered by political parties who could no longer be civil with one another. Corruption was present in the highest offices of our Government.
The American People were being lied to, and others were being discriminated against on a daily basis. Fear was used to confuse and distract voters and keep political party members in line to please the leader. The American Press was being attacked relentlessly in order to discourage them from sharing honest information. The more immediate issues of gun violence, climate change problems, and rolled back safety regulations that prevented pollution were being set aside so the political party in power could raise more money for their campaigns, increase their political power, and win regardless of the cost to the people they were sworn to protect and be accountable to.
Such changes have been hard for me to see and live through. My moral values are being challenged constantly and the need to act becomes more pressing, for I want to live in a democracy and have freedom and justice for all. I want to feel safe in America and I want others to feel safe too. I grieve for what I once knew and for what my children may never have unless brave men of honor, compassion, and integrity come forward to work together to change our world into a better place.