I have been trying to understand what I dislike about modern America, and perhaps understand better what I crave: decency.
Decent people are not perfect, are not always right, are not always even very smart. But they are not filled with… indecency. It is not a religious issue (although some religion does seem to help to promote decency), it is not a racial issue, it is not a gender issue, or a sexual orientation issue. It is not a political issue.
Anyone can be decent.
It is hard to define a decent person. He or she is not someone you always agree with. Rather a decent person is someone who you can ride on a bus with and not be afraid of making eye contact with. A decent person is a stranger you meet at a cafe who you chat with over a cup of coffee. A decent person is someone who lives his life as best he can, and tries to make the world just a little bit better in some small way even if he doesn’t realize he is doing it.
What happened to simple decency?
It is my opinion that the majority of the American people have lost their sense of decency. They have no problem voting for indecent individuals who promise them loot. This makes them indecent. The indecent are now in charge of this country from top to bottom (or bottom to top?). You will never convince them to give up their dishonestly obtained government benefits (whether it is individual or corporate welfare) unless you can also convince them to embrace decency and self-reliance. That will result in them losing some very real short-term financial benefits. A hard sell. Any change that could have been made in regards to reforming the system should have been made decades ago before these people became the majority.
The indecent are not stupid. They are not fools. They have cleverly gamed the system and concluded they can get more from voting for one party or another even if it involves morally corrupt practices. To get them to change their mind you are going to have to get them to change their heart.
Conservatives are very good at preaching to the choir, but not so good at preaching to the lost.
When people study about the Founding Fathers even the most adoring fans focus on the genius and inspiration found in the Declaration of Independence and the balanced approach of the Constitution. That rather ignores the miserable pettiness in which the War for American Independence was waged, and the utter failure these same men had in regards to the Articles of Confederation which was one of the worst designed systems of government ever implemented. It also totally ignores the underlying social movement toward decency and morality.
The Founding Fathers were not only worried about creating a technical system of checks and balances to insure limited government and personal liberty, but they were terrified that the American people were not fit for freedom; that they were too self-indulgent and ignorant to avoid the pitfalls of representative government.
While Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, et al were out devising clever systems to run the government there was a grassroots movement where people were encouraged to return to abandoned churches and schools, and to raise themselves and their children to a higher moral level. The Founders believed that a Free People had to be a Decent People.
To what degree it succeeded is a matter for debate.
When I look at America I do not see a country filled with decent people. Quite the opposite. There are pockets of decency here and there, but the culture seems to have been hijacked by indecency. Even if the intricacies and technical details of a Constitutional limited government can be restored, is it possible to restore decency to an indecent country?