More snow and bitter cold lies in our future. Another major retail chain, Michael’s, has announced the hacking of their customer’s credit card files. We’ve had yet another senseless random public shooting in a mall in Maryland resulting in two innocent dead, several others injured and the gunman committing suicide. All this serving as a backdrop to a nation seemingly unsure of what the future holds.
We seem to keep replaying the same depressing news day after day, week after week. There is a sense of unrest and lack of hope and direction among many. These continued random shootings send a loud and clear signal that people are at the end of their ability to cope with their troubles. While there will always be unstable individuals among us, these shootings are becoming an epidemic. It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking this solution is in any way going to solve their problems or change anything.
The reasons behind these events are almost always the same: Mistreatment, bullying, drugs, alcohol, abuse and a lack of support and guidance all point to the unraveling in our ability to collectively address and solve these acts. In all too many ways, these events are numbing our shock and outrage. Far too many people feel helpless and lack the resolve to seek or demand change. As a nation, we no longer teach or encourage people how to help themselves or stand up for themselves. As a society, we no longer focus on building skills of self-reliance and self confidence.
In a recent Rasmussen poll, only 21 percent of American voters believe our government has their consent to govern us. Think about that for just a minute — nearly 80 percent of the country is either unsure (16 percent) or doesn’t acknowledge the legitimacy of those running the country. It’s a sad commentary and speaks volumes as to why the nation is in such disarray. Very few among us have the faith in our leaders to put the nation and her people first and foremost.
By the time you read these comments, the President will have given his State of the Union Address to the nation. Last week, I expressed concern over the lack of direction and focus the nation is taking on the economy and jobs. But there is always something hopeful when the president travels up Pennsylvania Avenue to the offer his opinion on the state of the nation and his agenda for the coming year.
Early reports indicate the president will address such topics as immigration, unemployment, health care, the minimum wage and income equality. White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney has stated the President’s agenda will focus on “A Year of Action”, but President Obama has also signaled that he will bypass Congress and use the power of his office by executive order to enact more of his agenda.
With a nation politically paralyzed and each side digging into a bunker mentality, it’s hard to imagine anything positive coming out of this week’s address. What both sides fail to see is America, if not the world, needs to see hope on the horizon — not further stalemate.
For proof of dysfunction, look no further then this past week when Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) was strongly rebuked by Arizona Republicans. They passed a resolution to censure the one-time presidential nominee for what they characterized as a liberal record that has been “disastrous and harmful” to the state and nation. Consider New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent remarks saying “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay ... have no place” in New York.”
Given the fact that it is Super Bowl weekend, consider the Broncos and Seahawks refusing to take the field until the other side agrees to let them win the big game. It’s simply not the way things work. Both sides must be willing to work together to do the people’s business and put their ideological differences aside.
We must address the many large and small issues affecting life in America. We need to return to the values of the American spirit forged into the Constitution. We must quit the bickering and find ways to address the differences that hinder our progress and cast doubt on our future.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.