We have gone from being the land of opportunity to being the land of anger, angst and addictions. What has caused this seismic shift in attitudes and behavior? Could it possibly be the result of what we have placed our hope and faith in?
As a nation we’ve gone from winning World War I and World War II and kind of winning the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts to losing wars in countries many of us knew very little about or even knew existed even 25 years ago.
Our students are no longer the smartest in the world and our athletes and teams the best.
The country governed through the greatest human document ever written and expecting our elected officials to be the best of the best now finds itself governed by a plutocracy where the wealthy hand pick and finance eventual career politicians who in so many cases primarily think of protecting their financiers, being reelected, and making a buck and clueless political parties that are solely focused on the parties continuation and seem to care less about the nation. Consequently, in this most recent election with all the talk of hope, change, draining the swamp, returning our country to greatness, transparency………,we’ve gotten very little of what was promised and now either savagely discount the presidential election results or vehemently support them.
21.5 million of our citizenry were addicted to drugs in 2014 so the number now is well beyond that and our nation finds itself in the throws of a deadly epidemic that’s only getting worse. That’s not to mention the other addictions out there like pornography, sex, greed, power, youth/beauty, success……
Romance is no longer what it used to be with now over 50% of the marriages in America ending in divorce and young people no longer seeing marriage as the logical end result of dating nor see the relevancy of marriage. 34% of children now live with an unmarried parent and 1,601,527 live births to unwed mothers were reported in 2015.
We’ve placed our hope in sports figures only to see them disappoint us through their own self-absorption, cheating, performance enhancing drugs, the almighty buck, spousal abuse and a host of other things.
And, 63% of people in the USA seldom or never attend church and/or attend once or twice monthly according to Pew Researce.
Things like someone being a statesman, the middle class, pulling yourself up by the boot straps, honest news reporting, ethical business practices, home of the free, and many others now appear to be things of the past and/or at least not appreciably improving. American exceptionalism has been badly tarnished.
It seems everything that we at one time looked to for security and a sense of purpose and wellbeing have either thoroughly disappointed us or seemingly vanished into thin air. Or, perhaps, these very things that were once the basis for our confidence and hope became instead the idols that we clinged to and, consequently, were set up to inevitably fail and disappoint us? They have done just that. And, now that they have failed and disappointed us, we are left devastated and without hope. Idols demand that we love, obey and trust them but when we do they inevitably turn on us and they always fail us. That’s the problem with idols, we allow them to control us and make us their slaves but they are incapable of delivering what we naively think they can provide. Things like unconditional love, joy and a sense of purpose and accomplishments. We humans have the very bad habit of looking to humans and human organizations (idols) for the very things that only God can give (perhaps that’s why superhero movies are so popular) and when they disappoint and let us down, which inevitably they will do, we are left with only anguish and despair.
When the levee, the circumstances of life, breaks, all you can do is hold onto something solid and firm and hope you don’t get washed away. But if you’re holding onto false, powerless idol, anger and/or despair are all you are left with and neither one of them offers much hope and possibility. Which is why during the great depression so many wealthy people jumped out of their office buildings to their deaths because their idols, money, had done what idols always do when needed most, left them high and dry.
What’s your hope grounded in?