We have a problem residing in our country this Christmas. “Which one?” you might jump to respond.
The problem of which I write is one of recall, memory. Memory is a fundamental component in establishing progress for a vast array of reasons. But where our communities are concerned, it is even more pertinent.
I believe that we as a Country have forgotten what it means to be American. I really do. We had grown fat and insular the past several decades.¬† The affect was pinged out and the world responded to this, as an opportunity to parasitize this Country, to plunder it, and enslave it‚Äôs people. Our choices and attitude set the stage. You can see the affect of it in our very Government. We seeded our current spiraling demise.
Things look bad today. No matter where one is seated.
But the apparent slide of our country is far from over, or set in stone. (It could get worse.) However, I really see it being entirely possible to become whole and healthy again.
All it will take, is for us to choose to make sense, and side with our communities and their health. That means once again, doing what is in the best interest of each and every member of our towns. We will need to restore trust.
Here is a good article on trust. It is a long read, which most leaders will want to ponder: repeatedly.
It takes more than flying a flag. It takes more than soiled National pride. It takes resolve to live by the standards of God and our forefathers, which were placed at the masthead 234 Christmases ago. This will require each of us. We will need to “love and support our neighbor as ourselves.”
If we decide to take care of our own, everything changes. It worked for God. That is why we have Christmas. He took care of us. So now we have an obligation. We need to remember who that obligation is to.
The other night I listened to¬† Samuel Shoemaker and his brothers perform a song entitled Dancing Girl. The piece gives a very personal account of his experience in the Marines. At the end, I walked in to my girlfriend‚Äôs little shop.¬† Sam’s words had woken me up. I saw something with greater clarity than prior.
Donna came back to America from her adopted home in Germany about seven years ago. Determined to give the country of her birth another chance, she built a business founded on her passion for the Ocean, empowering women, design and ethics. She named it Betty Belts. A couple years ago she branched out into retail when she opened her little boutique called Betty B.
Like many small business people in America, her dreams and aspirations are simple: to make a living, and to inspire hope¬† and positive change in her community.
As I looked around her shop, I saw the handiwork of countless people in her fashion accessories and product mix. And I realized that it was not just Donna represented in that shop, but a cadre of human beings spread out across the globe, who each contribute to what at first glance is just a tiny shop off Main St in Ventura California.
And then I thought of the recent battles in City Hall, as our City Council continues to struggle with what to the community, seems to be a subject worthy of civil war: the choice of whether to side with the people they live with when setting policy, or to oppress them.¬† It occurred to me that the ripple effect of¬† poor choices by Governance at the City level has a global impact. That was sobering.
Though I am embarrassed for my town, and saddened by what I have seen City Government do to the people of Ventura, what gives me hope this Christmas is that people like Donna persist.
Persistence is a very American virtue.
Donna’s family is rooted in the History of this Country. They helped found it. She left that behind her at one point in her life. And yet returned with a very global perspective in hand, to engage in a manner that would make her ancestors proud.
Today, everyone fights a hard battle just to stay afloat. But my town, being of pioneer stock and temperment will prevail, and when it does, so will America.
We need to remember who we are this Christmas, and celebrate that.
Be authentic. It matters. So do you.
Have an American Christmas.