Harvey J. Kaye has an editorial in the Madison Capital Times that shows where we've gone wrong and what we need to do to put our country back on track:
[As]the failure of local, state and federal governments to respond promptly to the disaster in Louisiana and Mississippi all too tragically revealed, we have ignored the most important point of the story: that the American Revolution, for all its failings and sins of omission, was fought to create a political and social order radically different from those of the monarchical and aristocratic states of the Old World.
Ironically, even as we have been enthusiastically reading about the Founders, we have been foolishly turning away from their greatest legacy: the idea that government should be dedicated to the pursuit of the public good, not the good of selected families. [Emphasis mine.]
For a generation now, while cutting taxes for the rich and welfare provisions for the neediest, we have allowed our material inequalities to intensify, our social and cultural divisions to widen, our industrial and commercial foundations to weaken, our national and local infrastructures to decay, and our capacities to prepare for and respond to threats to our national security and freedom to decline...
When in the darkest days of the Revolution, Paine wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls," he was neither lamenting nor complaining about the dangers he and his compatriots in Washington's army faced. He was issuing a call to action. And in that spirit as well as to honor the Founders, those who died on 9/11, in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and on the Gulf Coast let us, as we undertake the labors of recovery and reconstruction, make this the time that we redeem the most profound meaning of the American Revolution. Let us reaffirm the nation's extraordinary purpose and promise. Let us renew our commitment to cultivating the public good and extending and deepening freedom, equality and democracy.
There is a saying, "A house divided cannot stand." Well, our country has become a divided house, and the partisanship and special interests are responsible for that division. It's not too late to repair the damage to our country though and set an example for the world, for as Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense: "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
UPDATE: Libby - The Impolitic - weighed in on the the question: Will a bi-partisan sense of We The People, ever truly exist? Her post is worth the read, and so are the comments. What about the rest of you? How would you answer this question Midwestern Progressive? Blognonymous? Expatbrian? - who, by the way, has a great post on "Being an American." Or how about an opinion from the right, Bostonian Exile? I know you're on hiatus from blogging, but opinions and ideas from all sides of the political spectrum need to be heard. How about you, Kevin? You gave up your blog, but I'd be honored to let you post your answer here. You work in the political realm and have a unique perspective from both inside and outside the government.
We are one nation and one people - regardless of our political ideologies - so this is an open invitation to anyone reading this to answer the question. Leave a link to your blog or put your answer in the comment section so we can all hear your perspective.