Yesterday in my English class, we debated the state of our nation, again. Don't get me wrong, I like my teacher. I think that she is interesting. I think that she is kind. Perhaps it was because I had worked all afternoon on my essay, and was tired. Perhaps it's because I've got three more largish projects to knock out of the way, and a final essay in that class. I don't know. But yesterday, we talked about Thoreau, and the essay that he wrote after being jailed over night. "Isn't it true, that the soldier is really just a piece of clay to be used by the government, with no choice of his own?" "No," I replied. "The soldier is given the obligation to decide what is an unlawful order and what it a lawful order. He has a choice." To a degree, I suppose that she (and Thoreau) are correct. A soldier has a duty. But a soldier also makes that choice, choosing to be bound by duty. She went on to list the ills of our nation. Yes. I will agree with her on that, too. Our country is flawed, and some of those flaws are pretty big ones. But she wound things up the way that she always winds things up: "I don't know. What can we do about these things? We started out so idealistic and that has been lost..."
Maybe it is just me, but no government on the face of this planet lives up to the idealistic notions that it was founded on. All of them fall short of those ideals. And if one looks at our shortcomings (and nothing but our shortcomings) for any extended amount of time, I suppose that it is easy to find yourself feeling hopeless, as if there is no way to fix things. I think that we'd all be better off if we quit worrying about these sorts of things and began to focus on this one thing: "What can we do, today, to make our world a little bit better?" Perhaps it is a kind word, or a good deed, or a gift of our money, or our time. It seems to me if everyone focused more on making the country better instead of screaming about its faults, about the faults of their fellow Americans, we'd finally begin to see some changes.
I want to see people walk the walk. I'm tired of hearing them talk the talk.