A belated Happy Independence Day to everyone out there! And to all the Canadians up there who haven’t read my blog yet, a belated Happy 150th Canada Day, ya loveable northern weirdos!
I love this country (my country. America. I’ve never been to Canada). I don’t mean that in a perfunctory ‘sure, I was born here’ kind of way. And I don’t mean that the United States can do no wrong (we’re often really good at making mistakes). I mean I love this country. I want the absolute best for my country and everyone in it. And it doesn’t hurt that I like this country. I like our freedoms. I like baseball, and barbeque, and waving the red, white, and blue. I willingly worked for the federal government. Several times I have been a soloist at naturalization ceremonies, singing The Star-Spangled Banner as men and women born elsewhere become Americans. I freaking love this country (almost as much as Hulk Hogan does in that pic up there, but probably not quite as much).
But I also think this country has a problem. One, overwhelming problem. It’s our government, guys. Our government is terrible. I don’t mean that our government is bad right this second and will magically improve when one person or another enters or exits office. I don’t mean one leader is terrible. Our whole government is terrible. Look around and see the awful leadership seeping out at every level and in every sphere. So many of our leaders are corrupt, are influence first of all by money and political donors, are embroiled in one scandal after another. All of our leaders are embroiled in partisan bickering, unable to serve the common good or to compromise in any way if it means their party ‘lost.’
I have a lot of really hard opinions about our countries problem. But I also have the week from Hades at work, so I don’t have time to write the many treatises that I want to. Rather, I’ll just suggest 3 things that our country really, really needs right now:
- Ideas: We need good ideas to fix our problems. This may seem like “duh, Mark” kind of statement, because of course we do, and because of course there are a lot of great ideas floating around out there. But the issue is that we do not focus on ideas. We focus on candidates, and on scandal, and on whether a “D” or an “R” is behind someone’s name. We are driven by petty competition, or by fears, or by controversial soundbites. But we are not engaging with real ideas for successful policy in this country.
- Data: When we do spout ideas, they are usually not based in fact. So often, we spout off one fact or another, one ailment or achievement in this country, and we have no clue what we’re talking about. We say there’s more crime, when really there’s less. We say such-and-such is more affordable, when really it’s more expensive. If we’re going to fix anything in this country, we have to have a realistic idea of what our problems are.
- Prayer: We think we can fix this place alone, and we just can’t. We have to dedicate our country to Jesus Christ through the Patroness of the United States, the Immaculate Conception. If we lift up our country in prayers, and our leaders in prayer, and each other in prayer, we’re going to be better off. If we don’t get serious about cooperating with the Holy Spirit in caring for this country and everybody in it, we’re not going to get anywhere, real fast. So say it with me, guys, and say it often: GOD BLESS AMERICA!