Born into a military family in 1945 just a month before the end of WWII – the largest conflagration among humans in modern history – I have only known a great nation and people who believe in justice and freedom.
With each decade of my life I have participated in this nation’s great dreams and the struggle to fully realize them. I’ve learned about our collective warts and failings, even despicable acts upon our own people and people abroad, but I’ve never lost my faith in this Republic.
My parents, Millie and Ed Feathers, came from small towns in the South, working families, but strivers. They made sure their children got a college education, heretofore impossible for most working families. They had four daughters and all four of us have Master’s degrees.
Both my grandparents and parents believed in America, voted, read history, and as long as I lived at home, family time always included the discussion of ideas, politics, and social movements. They taught us to engage in our nation’s development. We did and we have remained so in our respective communities.
To be an American is to live up to high ideals of protecting the principles upon which the Republic was founded and working shoulder to shoulder with your neighbors to make this nation work for everyone and to protect fundamentals like the right to vote, and willingness to compromise when competing ideas threaten to tear the fabric of democracy in our hands.
These very basic but fundamental pillars of the Republic are embattled in this very moment. The only fix is for each American of any age to recommit to participate fully as a citizen, and that means protecting the right of vote and it means study, exchange of competing ideas, compromise, and faith that exercising these functions of a democracy will result in a strong nation.
If you want to live in a democracy, if you want America to be a bastion in the world for justice and freedom, then you have to work at it! I am exhausted with all the name calling and pointing to others to blame. Remember the old saying that when you point, three fingers are pointing back at you.
Stand up Americans, take personal responsibility, do your part, and soberly examine your part in the mess we have become. It’s mine and it’s your responsibility to get us back on a good path. This is true now just as it has always been at any point on our collective path to create a great democracy. If we fail, it’s mine and it’s your fault. Not some other person’s, party’s, or President’s fault.
We are in this together. Together we will fall or we will rise.