04 Nov Why I’m Not Giving Up On My Country
November 8th will prove to be a pivotal day of decision for our country. The 45th President of the United States of America will be elected.
I’ll be honest – I’m not in support of either leading candidate, but I’m not disillusioned with my country and planning on jumping on board a plane to Canada, either.
Like many Americans, this season has tested me. I have experienced feelings of frustration, anger, disgust, and discouragement.
But last weekend, I had a glorious experience. For my daughter’s eighth birthday, I took her to do a sleepover at the National Archives.
As we cozied up in our sleeping bags just feet from the documents that were instrumental in the founding of our country, I gave thanks. As I spent that evening reading words that served to form the union, I was inspired.
And I realized something important – in any relationship, when people are hurt and disillusioned it can be tempting to just give up. But that moment of relational testing is an opportunity – a time to ask ourselves what we do love about that person and why that relationship is worth fighting for.
Many Americans may be disillusioned and frustrated with their country right now. But now is not the time to abandon her; rather, now is the time to remind ourselves of what we love about her.
Here are just a few reasons I’m not giving up on my country:
1. America has a deep, rich, inspiring legacy; It was built by men and women who believed in great ideals such as freedom and equality for all. They risked their lives and many died for this “impossible dream” and “divine experiment” to become a reality. I still believe in their original vision.
2. Last week, I also had the chance to visit Abraham Lincoln’s cottage – where he went to “get away” from the constant stress and turmoil of the Civil War (during which, almost 500,000 soldiers died). I thought about Lincoln and the many, many great presidents our country has been graced with – men who led our country brilliantly and courageously during extreme challenges. And I gave thanks.
3. More than one million men and women have died in military service to our country. They were willing to give up their own lives to protect and preserve our freedoms and rights as citizens.
4. How we respond in this moment matters very much to our children and grandchildren. If we allow ourselves to become disillusioned and disengaged citizens, how are we working to make our country a better place for those who will inherit it from us?
That night when my daughter and I slept next to the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, it was a prophetic symbol to me of where I’m choosing to “camp out” in this season – next to the powerful principles that carry great weight and inform the laws, governances, and even the moral compass of our land.
Rather than cursing my country and disengaging as a citizen, I’m choosing to mediate on the seminal ideas and beliefs that formed this country in the first place.
Things may not be going the way I had hoped politically speaking. I hope for top candidates who exemplify strong character, integrity, wisdom, and above all, humility. I would love for the top leader of our country to be someone I could point out to my children as an example to follow.
I can, however, point my children to the example of neighbors, friends, family, and even civic and local leaders who exemplify the virtues that are so important.
Now is not a time for myopic vision. Now is a time to remind ourselves that our country has gone through some pretty rough patches and persevered.
Whoever becomes the 45th president of the United States is a big deal, for sure. But it isn’t everything.
One president does not define America; Americans throughout history define America. That’s what I want to teach my children in this moment.