Friday :: Apr 29, 2005

On Despair...

by CA Pol Junkie

I had occasion to be in Washington D.C. this week. I had some extra time on my hands, so I decided to take a walk around the National Mall, which I hadn't done in many years. It was a bit surreal at first, among a fleet of tour buses and about a thousand 13-year olds. Soon I didn't notice the other people with me on the mall, as my visit wasn't a chance to take pictures of famous things or to say "I was there". I walked past the Vietnam War Memorial, and read the names of a few of the thousands who were sent on a dubious mission against their will but still sacrificed their lives in service to their country. I passed the Lincoln Memorial and heard the echoes of Martin Luther King inspiring a nation to share his dream. I stopped by the Korean War Memorial to remember those whose service to their country was forgotten. Next was the Roosevelt Memorial, where I read the famous quotes of the president who led America from the depths of depression to world superpower. Then I walked around to where I could see the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin, and thought of the extraordinary vision that became our great experiment in democracy. I was inspired.

Then I felt ill. I would never want America to go back to where it was in the time of Lincoln, Roosevelt, or Vietnam, but through tremendous adversity, America was moving forward to a more perfect union. I don't think we are doing that today. I was inspired by leaders who made America great, but then looking down the mall to the capitol or at the White House I am struck with how hollow America has become. We have leaders whose actions a generation ago etched other young men's names in black granite. We have leaders whose vision extends no further than the next election. We have leaders who are selling our children's future to enrich their friends. We have leaders who use fear to cement themselves in power. Worse yet, we have voters who elected those leaders.

I wondered if we still have the leaders among us to show us greatness and the will within all of us to go there. We have become a nation called no further than the shopping mall when tragedy falls upon us. If called upon to ask not what our country could do for us, but what we could do for our country, would today's America roll its eyes and vote for the other guy? Would the talking heads call such a leader a fool and then go back to covering the Michael Jackson trial?

One can only hope that the American spirit hasn't gone extinct...

CA Pol Junkie :: 2:09 PM :: Comments (17) :: Digg It!