Healing America: The Heart of America is Dying
The heart of America is dying!
As a physician, I know well when I see sickness. It invades every aspect of the person. It consumes everything, which may be why we so often hear the phrase, “health and vitality.” Without health, vitality is impossible.
Our country is diseased because our government is diseased. The heart of America is clogged. Our government is like the heart of the country, and we are desperately in need of a heart transplant.
Our diseased government affects every aspect of our civic lives. We are all rattled by the rancor and failure of our government.
America promises liberty and justice for all.
But our leaders are not living up to that pledge.
When we were healthy
Over the past year, I’ve found myself dreaming about the extraordinary drama of the fall of 1787, 232 years ago.
Members of the Constitutional Convention debated, wrote, and signed the Constitution, proposing an entirely new form of government.
It’s awe-inspiring to imagine the individuals from across the 13 colonies — from Massachusetts to North Carolina — who came together in Philadelphia, my hometown. They spawned a valorous miracle: the birth of the American dream, a vision to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Our leaders spawned a brilliant system of government that created the vitality of America to grow and emerge into a leading nation and symbol of democracy (and stability!) for people everywhere.
But it wasn’t perfect. Not even close.
Unfortunately, the leaders of that time did not represent all of the people.
The drafters of our first Constitution were all white and all male.
Many were landowners, and many were slaveowners.
As well-intentioned as they may have been, the Constitutional Order of the last 232 years was designed to protect their greedy personal wealth and privilege, while aggressively subjugating others.
The truth is, as path-breaking as our Constitution was, inherent in its design is a systematic obstruction of the promise of liberty and justice for all.
Think about that. The very thing our government was designed to create, is blocked.
Which might explain why the sickness of our country is now a threat to our country. The disease has gone untreated too long to where it can no longer be avoided.
Call 9-1-1 for America
When a patient is in critical condition, doctors don’t sit around and debate. They diagnose, they prepare a course for healing, and they execute it. They take action.
Which is exactly what we need the American people must do now. We must take action.
Our founders took an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution. The preamble states:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”
Today’s leaders are failing America. They’re not upholding their pledge.
The heart of democracy is dying.
The American promise — of liberty and justice for all — is in jeopardy.
This is an urgent existential threat to our way of life and the potential for future generations to flourish under American ideals.
Over the course of the next few blogs, we will diagnosis the sickness, create a plan for healing and join together to execute it. I’ve been waging justice for thirty years and I know together we can make a difference. We can save America.
Because liberty and justice for all must now really be, for all.
To privilege, equality feels like oppression.
What this meme means is: We need to create for those who have wrapped themselves in privilege a new source of self-esteem than ‘At least I’m better than them…’
What’s our pathway to our being able to hold those who wrap themselves in privilege as instead inherently worthy of esteem and honor them with a conversation they can really “get” and be inspired by? How do we shed our own feelings of “I’m better than them”!
Perhaps a place to begin is simply (!) accepting that what they think is not the result of stupidity or malevolence, but that it makes sense in their minds and is appropriate to their current way of seeing the world in relation to their values. Not agreeing with it, but neither holding it away from oneself. Being curious and honoring their view as sensible for them right now. Removing all traces of our own feelings of superiority. Then we can engage and listen to understand, not to attack and condemn. Giving up our “justifications” for being right and righteous. Listening to hear the concerns that drive their values and viewpoints, we may be able to begin to discern shared concerns about life underlying their viewpoints. The grace we give may reveal to them the grace they give and open a space for them to see for themselves a new relationship to their lives, a new sense of shared humanity with those they previously put down, and a new source of self-regard, of self-esteem.