Today, like many others in our country, I find myself deeply troubled by the mean-spirited, selfish, greedy, disingenuous, paranoid, arrogant, dishonest and angry state of mind that pervades our country. I see this anger as the outward manifestation of inner fear. I see greed and selfishness as an outward manifestation of an inner loneliness bred on a lack of love past and present. I see mean-spirited arrogance as an adult defense for a fearful child within. I see dishonesty and a willingness to mislead in the present as a defense crafted in childhood to avoid shame and physical pain. Dishonesty is a tool to manipulate others.
I have always seen our country as a society that projects hope more than despair. As a society, we act out of generosity rather than greed. We face the world with courage rather than hiding behind walls in fear. We confront injustice openly and with a willingness to sacrifice. We recognize our nation’s errors and more often than not take the difficult steps to change. We recognize the fallibility of the human spirit, but believe in the goodness possible in the human heart. Ultimately, we value people over things and ideologies. We recognize the inherent imperfections of human societies and seek to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. We believe in the creativity of every human being and seek to liberate that creativity while not impinging upon the safety and freedom of others. These are the qualities that make us great, but it is greatness robed in humility and restraint.
We are not perfect. We are far from perfect. We are, however, different from many others as a culture of individuals and a country. We are willing to name our imperfections. When our imperfections are named by others, we are not only willing to listen, but to hear. We have the courage to change. We are willing, as a people, to speak truth to power.