The other day, at work, while worrying about deadlines and waiting lists and TANF letters, I had an epiphany of sorts.
Like many others across America, my nights have been restless; I wake in the morning wary about what I’ll read in the news. Updates through the day aren’t better: legislative bills to sell of public lands (i.e., national parks, etc.), confirmation hearings for people who have never worked in the sector they are being charged with; executive orders signed with no input as to the ramifications.
I voted in my first election when I was 18: Mario Cuomo was running for Lieutenant Governor of New York State. He had spoken at my eighth grade commencement at Immaculate Conception School in Jamaica, Queens, New York — the very same Jamaica, Queens, that our current President hails from. Mr. Cuomo’s children also attended ICS, so I was happy and proud to cast my vote for him, and I am just as happy and proud that his son, Andrew, was elected to the same office.
And now we are here, a million years from yesterday. To quote “The Godfather”: How did things ever get so far?
In one of my friends’ posts on Facebook, someone suggested that we are here now because the incentives to be President should change, and that got my hamster wheel brain turning. I realized that serving the people of this country, in whatever fashion possible, is its own incentive, and so I wrote in response:
“What more incentive does one need than to lead the nation forward while preserving and protecting the values outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? The Presidency, and Congress, are not offices to get rich from; they are the repositories of the peoples’ trust in you for their future and the future of their progeny.”
As a nation, what are our values?
I believe our values were clearly outlined for us in the three documents our Founding Fathers drafted for us to follow: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the soul of our country. Each amendment to the Constitution and Bill of Rights that is ratified by 38 of 50 states (3/4) is an agreement that our culture has changed to a degree and is deserving of acknowledgement.
Elected officials who seek to curtail these rights inherently do not trust their constituents, but the rights this country were founded on has inspired others (“Liberté, égalité, fraternité”), and human nature will always strive for freedom and happiness.
This does not make us weaker.
It makes us stronger.