Emmitsburg Council of Churches


Excited About Our Future?

I have talked to a wide variety of people over the past four months and I cannot recall any of them being excited about what appears to be the future of America. I think that I have a pretty balanced approach to politics and aspirations of the majority, but from what I read, hear and see: The future does not look bright for America if we continue in the direction we are headed in.

I am willing to go on record in saying that the majority of us born before 1970 envisioned the future (in general) with a reasonable amount of optimism. In spite of the sadness of the Vietnam war era, people generally foresaw a future were we wanted to take care of the earth; people generally trusted that they would have a pension and or could count on Social Security to help with retirement somewhere around age 65; citizens paid their taxes with some sense that the dollars supported the government, which made the nation stronger (i.e., financially = a social conscience), healthier, cleaner or more secure. Of course, we opposed excess expenditures in any particular category or that showed any kind of political or industrial favoritism, but overall, there was something good about government: It acted as a regulatory force looking out for the welfare of its people and the nation's natural resources. People generally felt that their vote counted and that there was some degree of a listening ear in Washington. Things may have been far from perfect, but it was generally felt that government was by the people and for the people.

But things have changed drastically over the past four years plus four months. We are again at war. Our nation is in a state of financial decline due to an unpayable level of debt -- increasing as we spend more money we don't have for a war we didn't need. Environmental policy changes are endangering long-standing safe-guards of the air we breath and the water we drink. Our financial security system for seniors, children and the disabled is in grave danger of going bankrupt, which some of us were kind of looking forward to as a small help in retirement years.

We also have a new social and political problem: Individual citizens and groups who express their ideas or dislikes of the ruling party are dismissed as unloyal or written off as traitors. There is an atmosphere of "quieting" dissenting voices that equates with the "McCarthyism" of the early 1950's. American citizens have less of a voice now than we did just a few years ago. We clearly see and are feeling the fallacy of an outdated fossil fuel economy, but no progressive or substantial action is being taken to improve efficiency or move toward self-sufficiency (a Rooseveltian effort is needed to rebuild our failing energy system!). Millions of Americans will not be able to pay the cost of heating their homes for this past winter, let alone next year, and income for the average wage earner does not reflect the cost of living increases we are all experiencing due to energy cost increases.

Shall we blame all of these woes on September 11, 2001? I say no! A course of action was taken to punish the wrongdoers of that tragedy, the Afghan war and the perpetrators were brought justice. Furthermore, the Office of Homeland Security was developed to prevent or react to any such endangerment now or in the future. But the present direction weíre heading and future that is on the horizon looks gloomy at best as the nation continues in a downward spiral which began to go out of control with the advent of the Iraq war.

We cannot allow the events of 2001 to destroy 229 years of democracy, freedom and a hopeful future! We need for America to be secure at all levels and across the spectrum of her people. From wealthy to poor, from recent immigrants to generational family farmers . . . we need for all of us to be able to say, "Iím looking forward to the next 80+ years," or "we have a plan for a bright future which includes everybody and everything and weíre going to work on it in such a way that we all arrive there together!"

No more exclusions of people because "we donít want to hear dissenting voices." No more name calling, i.e., liberals and conservatives. No more categorizing people as loyalists or radicals. Letís work on the goals that are common denominators for all. Healthy environment,, a social security system that will provide guaranteed* savings (*even private investments must be federally insured for retirement purposes), rebuild the energy infrastructure with sustainable energy, no more billions for Iraq, allow them to make their own decisions and pay for their own security with their own oil revenue--bring our men and women safely home.

You may call me a skeptic, a cynic or manic, but I know that I am not alone in my disappointment with the way things are going . . . I am a realist. Come on America, we know better!! I guess its my faith and hope in God that tells me that my responsibility is to write, even if I'm wrong or not well educated on some of the issues . . .maybe you can fill in for my weaknesses. Maybe its the Spirit that can pull us realists, rationalists, and people of faith into a higher order of governance than what we are currently experiencing. Let's get back to a positive and realistic agenda for America's progress, no false programs, no wars without just cause, no favoritism to corporations with selfish aims -- but truth and integrity to America's citizens, especially the poor and respect for the land and creatures which existed long before we came over.

Pastor Jon