Compared to world history, in the short 238 years that the United States has been the United States, we have changed dramatically. Other nations seemed to go on for centuries with relatively little differences. Of course, the industrial age and the unfathomable rate of technological discoveries have affected everyone in unanticipated ways.
I wonder what our founding fathers would tell us if they were able. Maybe the more important question is, would we even listen?
We have become in large part a society where we each belong to a subgroup that feels that we know exactly what is best, where the right line is to draw in the moral sand, and what should be seen as unacceptable.
And we know that it should be that way for everyone.
Those who don’t see things from our point of view or embrace our solutions are just too stupid to know anyway, so let’s go ahead and make the decisions for them. After all, we really do know what is best.
Our founding fathers may be surprised to read through all the laws that are on the books. It may be a good thing they are dead, as it would probably take more than a natural lifetime to even get to them all.
Close your eyes and imagine them sitting around a table.
“Why do they need all these laws?”
“Most of these things are just common sense; you just do them because it is the right thing to do.”
“It seems like they have lost the ability to think for themselves.”
“Or it seems that the government has decided that it is a better thinker than the common man.”
“Generally it is the voice of the majority that keeps the logical common sense, not the few who are in power.”
“What kind of a mess have they gotten themselves into?”
“Is this what we worked so hard for?”
Of course, I could be wrong. They may be watching and doing a jig and saying that this is exactly what they had in mind when they drafted the constitution.
But I don’t think it is very likely.
I’ve thought a lot about it and it seems to boil down to some simple but disastrous pitfalls.
One would be that we’ve reversed the accountability direction on the responsibility to choose.
It seems that I want to choose for you. I know what is best and you just need to agree with me. I just don’t want to have to make a definite decision and choose for myself. No matter what, I want a way out if I don’t like how things go.
That sounds like a pretty tempting plan at first glance. I don’t have to really choose for myself because I can blame anything that doesn’t go my way on you and then make you pay for it through a lawsuit. Who knew that pain and suffering was really worth millions and millions of dollars? The best part is that I get to stand up and tell you how all of us must do things my way, and if you don’t see how this is the best way, then you really are stupid.
Sounds like a first grader’s dream.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to stay in first grade past the age of six. We are expected to learn and progress and grow and become an adult.
How are we doing? It seems that there are an awful lot of playground skirmishes and bullying going on among those who are 30, 40, 50, and so on.
The truth is that we have to understand just how important it is to choose. To choose for ourselves.
I am responsible for the choices I make. You are responsible for the choices you make.
Now, how do we somehow manage to live together, knowing that we have made different choices?
It is interesting to read and listen to debates and arguments over exactly this question. Each side has their “talking points” that seem to come up in each conversation; you can almost say out loud what they are going to say before they say it. It seems to be the same argument each time. I guess the way you tell if someone won was if they were the last to repeat their slogans or spoke more loudly over the other person.
Why is there no movement in the conversation toward a solution?
Is it because we refuse to listen?
I think so.
Is it also because we are trying to use reason and logic to somehow mathematically score more points and win the fight?
Yet some of the things that we are fighting the most about don’t seem to be based in logistics and figures. They are based in feelings and beliefs.
We are trying to change each other’s minds, while we are actually talking about matters of the heart.
The court suit being fought right now over the issue of same-sex marriage is a pretty good example. I’ve read the arguments and statistics on both sides. Each proponent has done a lot of research and has made it very academic, proving how their view is correct.
But for me it is very simple: I believe that God has told us through His prophets that marriage is the most amazing and wonderful gift and is to be between a man and a woman. I know that my marriage has brought me more joy and happiness and self-esteem and friendship and security and hope and on and on and on, than anything else I have done in my life. I don’t really need to go any further than that. I know in my heart and my soul that this is right.
There really isn’t a logical argument that is ever going to change what I know deep within.
Obviously there are good people who believe that same-sex marriage is right.
So, what do we do?
Well, I don’t think that we spew anger filled venom at each other in words and actions. I don’t think we treat each other like vermin and say that I won’t hire you or work with you or let you live near me. I don’t really think protesting or parading around and shoving one lifestyle in another’s face will help.
Popular or not, my view is not going to change. Not because I am stubborn or mad or vindictive. It’s because I am at peace with it. I see it as truth. Truth is truth.
There are many truths.
I also see as truth that extra marital affairs are wrong. I see as truth that creating a child out of wedlock is wrong. I see as truth that a date does NOT consist of sexual intercourse.
There was a time that the majority also saw these as truths. Yet society now fully accepts that each of the above is not only acceptable, it is understandable and just a part of being an adult.
How did we get growing up so wrong?
Perhaps now it is a little easier to see why I am so deeply concerned that, yet again, another huge chunk is being taken out of the moral granite that made our nation the world’s leader.
I think we have to be realistic and ask ourselves, what will be next? Because past experience tells us that we won’t stop here, just like we didn’t stop with extra marital affairs but moved on to having children out of wedlock and dating being a sexual free for all.
I have to choose for me. You have to choose for you.
And we all have to live together after the choices have been made. Hopefully we will make the choices now that will allow us all to keep choosing what matters most tomorrow.