Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tired of It.

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.

10 comments:

Hal Johnson said...

I agree. And yet, I wish we could see more discussions like you had in class. I think our number one problem as a culture is apathy. We're a people largely lacking in interest in real issues, while damn near everyone knows that Lady Gaga wore a meat dress. We're a society in which too many people feel that if they have a low mortgage rate, an SUV, and a smart phone, then life must be okay. We're a people largely devoted to demonizing others, because taking an earnest look at real issues is just too much trouble.

And yet, I still have hope that reasonable, thinking people will break free of the mindsets foisted upon the American people by the extreme left and right. I still have hope that we're not dumbed down to the point of no return.

Lydia said...

Thanks for a good post, Debby. I agree with Bill about apathy, but I am more concerned about entitlement. If we would all work toward giving to others rather than demanding that others give us what we feel we are entitled to, we might have a better nation.

OK, sorry, now I started more discussion and you are already sick of it!

I'm glad we live in a place where we can speak. It is a privilege for sure.

JJ said...

Hello! I just randomly stumbled onto your blog from other blogs...errr...well, anyway, hello!

I love this post and I couldn't have said it any better myself!

Jayne said...

I agree, every nation has govts that don't work the way we all want them, it's up to us as individuals to take the responsibility to step up to the mark and walk the walk instead of expecting others or 'someone in authority' to do it for us.
Soldiers are merely the ones in the spotlight to do what we all hope we'd do in times of trouble, there are plenty going about their day walking the walk it's just we don't hear about it as it's not as 'news worthy' as Lady Gaga's meat dress (as Hal said up above).

Scotty said...

Absolutely - same can be said for over here in Oz too - we have our share of negativity as well and one of my favourite quotes on that front goes along the lines of...

if they were shitting diamonds, they'd be complaining about the shape, or the colour, or the...

:-)

Kelly said...

Good post, Debby.

quid said...

I had to preserve that last paragraph. Copied it to my blog. Refreshing, girl. I needed that.

quid

Bob said...

I saw this first at Quid's place and I'll say again what I said there: Amen and Amen.

Algernon said...

We need both. We need talk AND walk. We need the kind of good citizenship you are talking about. We also need to think, to re-think, to criticize and to envision.

Yet it seems to me that a great many of us dismiss any criticism of state power or social stratification or other institutional problems in our country, without much attention, as "screaming" or "political correctness" or some other term. It is reflexive conservatism.

steviewren said...

Amen sister, preach it!

Your description of the class discussion illustrates the great thing about America. We are free to express our opinions as well as being free to do something about what we don't like. I think the important thing is to be sure that more of us are trying to make a difference than those that express their opinions only.