Guest Post: If we want America to be better, we must be better

By Guest Blogger: Farah Thompson

Do we deserve 2020? 

Yes, we do. 

Before you get angry and huffy with me, let me explain. In all likelihood, you do not deserve the difficulties 2020 has brought so far. But I think it is more than fair to say, we as Americans deserve 2020. For decades and to our detriment, we have taken less and less personal responsibility for the circumstances that surround us. 

We live in a society and are the component parts of that society. You have power to guide or fix what is wrong. You can vote, you can express your opinions to your leaders, you can protest. Of course, these are the easy ones to mention, but what about the more intangible actions? Do you encourage people who are doing well, or are you too wrapped up in yourself to notice others? Are you a good employee or boss, or do you have high expectations for everyone except yourself? 

Would you be proud if your children grew up and exhibited the same level of character you have? 

Are you gracious when right and humble when proven wrong, or do you refuse to admit error and let yourself become bitter? 

Do you throw away your trash or do you litter? Do you return your shopping cart at the grocery store? 

These questions may seem silly. 2020 has brought real problems. How does your personal character affect things like the coronavirus, police brutality, riots, or our messed up politics? I’m glad you asked. 

What if our presidential candidates were 10% better people? What if our senators, our congressmen, our Supreme Court justices were 10% better people? It is hard to know exactly what that might entail, but I think we can all agree the world would be better. They might be more thoughtful, humble, respectful, and kind. What about the entire federal workforce? If they were 10% better, you would expect them to work just a little bit harder and take a little more pride in their work. How many people might they help, how much money might be saved? 

What if every American had just a little bit better character? I’m not asking anyone to change their political or religious beliefs. Just their character—that ability to choose to do the right thing vs. the wrong thing, to take the hard road vs. the lazy one. 

Maybe you’re offended right now. You feel attacked. If so, I’m not sorry. If you were to be really honest with yourself, you are mad because I’m calling you out. The people with good character are usually aware of how far they could still go, and secure enough to take criticism and question themselves. 

See, we live in a society that is made up of human beings, made up of us. Without human beings, there is no government, there is no nation, there are no businesses. A law, a product, a city will either be made better or worse by the people involved. This is true at all stages of such things. A bad law will be made better by good application and vice versa. We are the X-factor in our own lives and in our nation. If we want our nation to improve we must improve. We can’t know how far the ripple effects of our actions may carry, but we can’t expect positive ripples without positive action. 

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