When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.
The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.
George Packer, Underlying Conditions, The Atlantic, June 2020, p. 9
Those with eyes to see and ears to hear have seen and heard the collapse of the American democracy coming. There were signs all over the place; the immoral wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the war crimes of torture, Abu Ghraib, Guantonamo, the growing income and wealth inequality, police violence, mass incarceration of minority populations, Citizens united, corporate and mercenary health care for profit, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, media illiteracy, lack of educational opportunities, child care, job training, and the list goes on and on.
In themselves these signs and symptoms could be dealt with and minimized if not eradicated, but systematically ensconced in a mean spirited social contract, they have continued to weaken us, separate us, divide us, and brought us to national collapse.
The Trump administration is not the problem with its lies, corruption, racism, cruelty, bullying, and sycophancy but rather a flowering in the moral soil which has nurtured and brought these political leaders to power.
We, the American people, have done this to ourselves and we have no one else to blame. Our hubris, arrogance, greediness, and militarism has ironically made us brittle, fragile, and on the verge of collapse. It didn’t take much to tip the house of cards over the edge into the abyss of destruction.
And here we are - having made our own bed, we have to lie and die in it.
Will the current crisis be enough to bring us to our senses or will more pain and suffering be necessary? Predictions are that the next six months things will only get worse because the majority of Americans still haven’t learned the lessons that Mother Nature is trying to teach.
Unitariann Univeralists know the answers which are embodied in their seven principles but they are a small voice pissing the ocean and farting into a hurricane, and they have a tendency to be too nice not wanting to speak the truth if it would offend anyone, and the truth offends the majority of Americans who voted to Make America Great Again.
America is a failed state supported by a failed people who have lost their moral compass. They have bought into Capitalism and the worship of the Almighty Dollar and the demonization of their brothers and sisters upon whom to project their fear, anger, resentment, and grievance. They have elected corrupt people into office to represent them based on their corrupt values and principles.
The great American way has always been about the money and competing and screwing the next person to get a little bigger share of the pie. The people who have won at this game are the ones we admire, the ones we vote for and support, the ones we want to be associated with. What America needs at this point is a miraculous change of heart and it doesn’t seem that they are ready for it yet.
How can UUs help America get ready to embark on a better way? By teaching people that better choices are available and helping to change the incentives so that people will be more inclined collectively to do the right thing. A good place to start, is simply with the truth, and the truth is, that we have sinned. We cannot be forgiven and rectify the mistakes if we cannot name the sin. What America’s sins have most affected you and your family and friends? Can you name them? Where can you start? What is one thing you could do today to improve the moral environment in your family, your neighborhood, your community, your state, your country, the planet? Start where you are.
On Memorial Day we are encouraged to fetichize our military exploits. Let's use this opportunity to do a life review and consider where our military might has actually gotten us. This review, if done honestly, will make you cry not so much for those who have been needlessly killed but for the insanity of our behavior.