“The middle of the road is all of the usable surface. The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
I don’t know who said we Americans are the most generous people in the world. But I’m not so sure that’s true, today anyway. Too many of us seem selfish to me, still wanting to have it all primarily for ourselves. Some call this the American Dream or American Way, but by having it all just what do we really have? A bunch of stuff, much of which we don’t need and would be just as happy without.
By sharing, what of true value do we have to lose? In fact, by sharing we have everything to gain. Doesn’t contributing, donating and giving back make you feel good?
It seems we have such a wide difference of opinion and civility related to nearly every challenge our country is facing today. Whether we’re talking about what to do to boost our economy by putting people back to work, or dealing with taxes, reducing poverty and hunger, or preventing terrorism and ending wars.
The same holds true when debating affordable health care, environmental protection, financial safeguards or improving schools. Immigration, gender issues and sustainable energy resources are still other hot buttons. We all seem hopelessly stuck, especially our government, somewhere in the muddle.
Whatever party or group you’re in, why can’t we agree to at least work together to reach some sort of consensus or middle ground? That’s where something positive and peace has a chance to happen. Neither the far left nor far right has the answers for most of us.
I wish I were smart enough to come up with at least some of the solutions. Maybe it’s to limit excessive salaries of CEOs and use the savings to hire more workers. Creating new community pea patches to produce more vegetables for food banks seems entirely doable. Or on a far larger scale, withdrawing troops to save billions which could be much better spent on rebuilding crumbling infrastructures and our national parks.
Another critical goal would be to improve our schools by developing curriculum that encourages greater respect for all students, regardless of their country of origin, race or faith. I think we need to take a harder look at how and what we’re teaching and what is actually being learned.
This country was built by hard-working immigrants from throughout the world. While this fact alone doesn’t make it right for anyone from anywhere to take up permanent residence here, we should be welcoming people who go through proper pathways to enter what they believe is our land of opportunity. There’s a good reason people from everywhere still want to be here. Give them the chance for a better life and they will undoubtedly contribute to making our country an even better place for all of us to live together happily and harmoniously.