America the Unfinished
Note: I began this as a draft on Thursday, before any of the happenings of the weekend. I’m starting to feel a little preachy with all the editorializing, and I’m looking forward to getting back to some AP-Style work this week.
Our capitol has been sacked.
But we should remember that the reason Wednesday’s insurrection accomplished very little is that America’s government rests not in a place, podium or person, but in its people. Not just the members of Congress, but in each person who votes, or will vote.
We all create America every day with our actions. Good, bad and ugly.
So we also need to remember, in chasing the ideals of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, that the imperfections we see are simply the evidence that we are not done.
Our collective failure last week is not the end of the road. As people always have, we will dust ourselves off, look to the future, and again start to work. We will be building the more-perfect Union that each of us has been promised all our lives.
And it's important to remember that because of the way our government rests with the people, it reflects what is put into it. If your government doesn’t look the way you want it to, that means it needs more of you in it.
It needs you to stop treating government like a spectator sport, and start taking a real, active role. Marching, protesting, and posting to social media are not enough.
As a reporter, I cover a lot of elections, meetings, and volunteer events. Most local elections end up going to the only person who runs. I’m often the only one at any given meeting, outside of who is required to be there as part of their job. I often see volunteer projects being worked on only by a couple of retirees using all the energy they have, and still falling behind the needs they’re trying to meet.
America is incomplete, and the world is worse than it could be, because good people aren’t spending enough time out there in it taking individual action. Everyone feels busy and tired, but if we’re brutally honest with ourselves, couldn’t we find an hour a week for the food pantry? Or find time to review that proposed ordinance and make a suggestion? Plan to spend a Saturday each year planting flowers in the park?
Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center (Iron Mountain)