Today we honor service men and women of the past, the present and the future--those who help preserve our country. Sometimes I wonder though what those service people think about a country that asks them to put their life on the line but votes against increasing their benefits, even though many of them are dirt poor after discharge. A country that ignores many of their health needs. A country that pays lip service but little more.
This morning in a blanket email about honoring our veterans, Texas Governor-elect Greg Abbott wrote "America is the brightest beacon of freedom the world has ever known." Empty words. America once was the world's leading nation, a bright beacon of freedom indeed. I don't know when the decline began--it surely wasn't with President Obama or even George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. The roots of our problems go way back, and I will let historians debate that issue.
But today we are beset with so many social problems--the poor and indigent, those without health care, the homeless, low education standards (read any college freshmen papers lately?), low veterans' benefits, environmental concerns that should knock us out of our complacency, and, yes, racism. I'm sure my list left out important things. Oops, of course, a messed-up immigration policy that does not reward hard work and dedication to our country but aims to cause heartbreak to families by separating them.
Look at statistics from other "civilized" countries and even some third world countries. Even our infant mortality rate is higher than it should be. Germany provides free college education for all. Canada's socialized medicine--shhh! don't even whisper it--seems to be working just fine. I know Canadians who would like to move here but won't, can't leave their insurance. We come close to leading the world in the number of executions, when most civilized countries have abolished capital punishment. Choose your cause--there are so many problems in America that most of us don't know where to begin. I admire those people who pick one cause and dedicate themselves to it.
Too many of us think as a lone individual we can't make a difference, just like believing our vote doesn't count. We can and we must.
America can't keep running on glorious sounding empty words.