As a US citizen, I’m becoming increasingly disappointed when I hear what people have to say about what’s wrong with our country, our leaders and our citizens. I question their intelligence when they preach about the loss of jobs without reviewing the facts published by the Department of Labor. I question their character when I hear them say that Mary Cheney is “fair game”. I question their patriotism when they verbally abuse our troops and military leaders for voluntarily accepting a most challenging, but necessary responsibility. And I question their compassion when they demand freedom for themselves, but disagree with the role we play to secure freedom for others.
In my opinion, we’ve completely ignored the fundamental system of beliefs from which this country grew. A true sense of unity can be achieved only when we’re willing to embrace religious, political, cultural and social tolerance… and our reluctance to do so is most often driven by ignorance because we refuse to think for ourselves or question what we’re being told by our mentors, our leaders and our news media.
Albert Einstein said “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” Einstein’s status as a genius was not inherently determined by his intelligence, but by his commitment to challenging the laws of his environment and his desire to break the rules of tradition. What a wonderful world this would be if we all were to subscribe to this form of thinking.
When we make important, but uninformed decisions based on information that has been shaded by bias rather than fact, we’re shirking our responsibility as citizens of a democracy. When we react based on cultural differences and emotion, we’re shirking our responsibility as human beings.