10 questions that measure your commitment to the United States of America
Is our country worth saving? EMPHATICALLY YES! Hopefully, we all agree on that.
Despite the many difficulties (and mistakes) we have faced over the last 245 years, this country is worth saving.
The U.S. has been a major force for good in the world. There may be academics who want to argue this point and quibble over the United States’ impact on the world, but for most of us, it is clear the U.S. has had a tremendously positive impact on the world. Just look at how people spend their time, the iPhone, television, Hollywood, social media, automobiles, planes, a mostly peaceful world order, minority rights, and a million other advancements have come about because of the United States of America. But that is for another essay on a different day. In short, the U.S. has brought about great advances in the world, and as with anything done in excess, it can be destructive, but on the whole, it’s good.
On one thing, we do agree some days, it can be hard to see certain citizens’ commitment to this “more perfect union.” The current state of our politics, the polarization, the self-sorting, the harsh rhetoric, the hate, the disgust, the disobedience, the lack of courtesy, the partisanship, it all makes for a hazy picture for the future of our country. Many days, it feels like we are on the cusp of pulling our country apart from the inside out. Some even use the words Civil War to describe where we are heading.
Millions of Americans are and have been willing to die for our country, serve their fellow citizens, and choose every day to put the needs of others above their own. But is it enough to actually save the country? Will our country survive the dark state of politics when the world is filled with forces who would love nothing more than to bring the era of American leadership to an end?
Below is a test for everyone. Those on the right and the left. Those on the coasts and in the heartland. Your answers to the questions below will gauge how far you are willing to go to preserve our representative democracy for generations to come, ensuring our families, children, and grandchildren get to experience the country that took the concept of freedom and built it into the largest, wealthiest, self-governing middle class the world has ever seen. So, here’s the test. See how you do.
To save our country, would you be willing to…
- Vote for a candidate from the other party?
- Compromise on your priority issues (guns, abortion, immigration, climate change)?
- Agree with criticism of your party’s bad behavior?
- Stand up for the rights of those with the opposite view?
- Shun retribution or escalation when suffering a political indignity?
- Go out of your way to understand the opposing position?
- Support policies benefitting others at the expense of your self-interest?
- Never use the excuse “the other party is worse” when voting for a bad candidate?
- Refuse to support or defend candidates who demonize their opponent?
- Love the neighbor that doesn’t live in your zip code?
These are hard questions. They are even harder to do.
Throughout our history, you can find so many examples of Presidents, leaders, voters, and everyday citizens who have willingly engaged in every one of these activities to preserve this beautiful experiment in freedom and citizen rule.
These things used to be called rational and patriotic. Now they are wrongly characterized as naive and selling out.
Please don’t misinterpret the above. No one is being asked to give up their convictions. That’s not required. We’re merely asking everyone to draw a more reasonable line for themselves that they won’t cross and take some basic steps to understand the other side. That’s all.
I’m sure we all know someone who we believe would benefit greatly from taking this test and changing their insane views. They may even sit beside you and drive you crazy during your family summer reunion. The crazy conservative uncle. The socialist niece. However, we don’t get to control others. So, this test is designed for each individual to reevaluate and see how they can improve.
It just may come down to you. Not your friends, family, or neighbor, but what you choose to do each day.
What are we trying to do here? Just the impossible. Build the most influential, safe, wealthy, exceptional, brilliant, and peaceful society at scale that has ever existed and sustain it.
If that requires each of us to exercise some self-restraint in our personal/political views to accomplish, then so be it. It is worth it. If history is any indication, the entire world will benefit and prosper for generations because of our collective restraint.
America is worth saving. I just wonder if there are enough of us willing to live differently to do it.
Born and raised in Idaho, Jace Johnson has lived and worked in the Washington, DC area for over 25 years. He currently loves working at Adobe where he is Vice President Global Policy, Accessibility and Ethical Innovation. For the last 2½ years he has also taught a Lobbying and Global Corporate Government Relations class at Howard University as an Adjunct Lecturer. Years ago, Jace was Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch. The views expressed by Jace are his and not to be ascribed to his employer, family or friends.