|Pile driver - not a wrestling move...|
After writing yesterday, I questioned the material which I had just flung into the public forum. Though I did not doubt the essence of my message, I was concerned that it was too straightforward, too blunt. In an era of flashy packaging and clever marketing ploys, it might not have the nuance needed to be well received. Fortunately, I’m not the only person in the history of writing to have wrestled with this problem, and an oft’ repeated line by Winston Churchill quickly steeled my resolve to press forward. “If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again.”
So, I'll continue to drive the point home, and my articles to come will surely provoke a variety of reactions among those who read them. But, they will remain - to the best of my ability – clear, un-equivocating, and frank. Though no one, no matter how much they profess so, can remove their own biases from what thoughts they produce, I will endeavor to keep my discussions free of partisan politics. My focus is, and will remain on, how best to revitalize the American people.
So, how do we do that?
There's no simple solution, but for a start, we mustn’t quit. Seems pretty obvious when there in black and white, but it’s much more difficult to apply in real life. Unintentionally, many of us can allow the world to pass us by in a blur of daily routines, television reruns, and lazy evenings on the couch.
Several of you just stopped reading, thinking, “There’s nothing wrong with my evening routine! After a hard day’s work, all I want is to relax with my family and watch our favorite show, <insert whatever HBO’s showing here>.” For those still with me, it’s not the relaxing that’s an issue, and not even the HBO miniseries (John Adams, anyone?). The issue is, we settle into a comfortable pattern and cocoon ourselves in layers of routine. Slowly, the effort we expend decreases as we become familiar with our routine (perhaps accompanied by a commensurate increase in waistline). Eventually, there will come a point where even small breaks from the norm become difficult. Unintentionally or otherwise, over time it’s easy to quit.
We must not quit - we must continue.
Both for those already pursuing strenuous lives, and for those mired in a routine of ease, Churchill again offers wisdom, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
We must continue for ourselves.
We must improve ourselves through mental and physical exercise. America did not mandate schooling for its children in order for them to quit learning after 9-12 years of education, it did so to provide each member of our Republic the building blocks upon which he or she can continue to improve their intellect. Good, bad, or indifferent, the education each American receives provides the beginning of what can be a lifetime of learning. Opportunities for physical betterment abound in our country, whether by walking the stairs in Richmond or summiting mountains in the Rockies. But, improving ourselves requires continued effort.
We must continue for our families.
We must make time for our families, despite drain from work, or frustration with life’s daily trials. Since its founding, the American nation has been comprised of families, bound by love, by experiences and by effort. Much concern and time is voiced at every level of our government out of concern for “the American family”, acknowledging the vital role it plays in raising the next generation of citizens. Advances in technology allow us to maintain familial relationships far easier and further than in previous generations, but the American family still requires the effort and attention of its members. It's not easy, but we must continue.
We must continue for our communities.
We must build and strengthen our communities. The surge of growth and mobility that has brought us to the 21st century ushered in an era of both construction and devastation. The rapid growth of urban and suburban centers took a severe toll on the communal bonds which once held us together. It’s not enough to simply sit back and bemoan the loss of small-town American society. Opportunities for new community are present as ever - the form may be different but the function the same, they provide Americans the means to shape and improve the place in which they live. As anyone reading this can likely vouch for, working with others takes effort – especially when dealing with something as personal and delicate as a community. But we must continue.
Despite all these efforts, the personal and societal rewards of doing so far outstrip the work expended. In dedicating more effort to self, familial and community improvement, we will find happiness in laboring towards a noble goal while producing tangible successes towards the betterment of our lives. And if we fail along the way, so be it. We can pick ourselves up, brush off the dust, and continue on. A strenuous path at least, but one well worthy of our exertions.
I'll close with three questions for you to mull over:
--What do you think America's populace needs to rebound?
--Who needs to be involved in order to make it happen?
--How do we enlist their willing participation?