Friday, September 11, 2020

Shining City on a Hill


The United States, in the past, was described as "a shining city upon a hill."  We believed in the words of the documents upon which this country was founded. Many of us believed that those ideals were reality. In truth, equality was not, and is not equally available to all of the citizens of this great country. Many of us are blind to reality. 

It has been a tumultuous summer. The year 2020 is going to be remembered as a quite a year. It is of course the year of the pandemic--which shows no signs of passing; but more importantly, I believe that 2020 will be remembered well into the future as the year when the United States finally began to understand and achieve the great charge that the Founding Fathers gave to us when they wrote the Constitution.

I love the Preamble of the Constitution. It states so very clearly what the United States is all about and provides a guidepost for us to measure progress. I do not believe that the Founding Fathers believed that we had attained the utopia described in the Preamble, but wrote the Preamble to guide us.

"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 Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." (Preamble to the Constitution)

The Preamble to the Constitution sets the stage for the "Shining city on a hill" that we have, until recently, believed ourselves to be. 

This year many of us have come to realize that the "Blessings of Liberty . . . " have not been available to all Americans, equally. I believe that one reason for this is the divisive administration that is working to divide us and to set Americans against each other in a manner not seen since the Civil War. When, before, have the words Democrat or Republican been used as invectives? But yet, they are now being used as such on a daily basis to hide the inability of the administration to to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility . . . "

Today is the anniversary of a violent attack upon this great country. I remember the day and the time after the attack. After we got past the shock and the tragedy  and the loss of so many thousands of our brothers and sisters, we became united with a purpose. That purpose was not a selfish inward looking purpose, but it was a purpose that caused us to spend our national treasure to make not only the United States, but the entire world a better and safer place. 

Since then we have become myopic and cannot see beyond our borders. We are building walls protect ourselves from imagined threats. We are divided and there is unrest. Out of this division, however, I believe there will come good. We have been sensitized to the fact that we are not yet the "shining city" of which Ronald Reagan spoke. But, we want to be. And many of us are dedicated to that goal--make the United States the best, most just country that the world has ever seen. We must "secure the blessings of Liberty . . . "

And the movement to make America the land of freedom, justice and liberty for all began again during 2020. We are beginning to reunite around those lofty, but achievable goals. We have a new sense of purpose. I am glad that our sports heroes, as witnessed in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL last evening have taken up the call as are working to raise these issues to into our consciousness, because unless we can see our shortcomings we cannot address and correct them. 

I was appalled at a memorandum issued by the Executive Office of the President, dated September 4, 2020. The words contained in that letter suggest something sinister and contrary to the ideals and goals of the Constitution. The memo can be found on, titled Training in the Federal Government

It is not un-American to examine ourselves individually, identify our beliefs and biases, and then work to understand how they affect our interactions with others. There are many ways to help people come to understand themselves and their biases. If America is to be the "shining city on the hill," then we must address the difficult, unpopular, and divisive issues that are facing us, right now!

Becoming the "shining city on the hill" is our goal, but it needs each of us to commit to achieving that goal. We must no longer be divided and fighting against ourselves, but rather we must unite and work to secure liberty and equality for each other. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

No comments:

My Zimbio
Top Stories