A tale of two cities, of two systems.
What is happening in Baltimore is the fault of one of the systems operating in the U.S. The system which leaves too many in the dirt while promoting materialism, the system which allows too many poorly run inner city schools to continue to ruin the young, the system where some parents teach their children that they are victims of the system and will always be victims of the system. The system which is torn between believing, on the one hand, that the best way to help the disadvantaged is to give them an easy handout and, on the other hand, that the best way to help the disadvantaged is to force them to man up. (Neither works to build up a man or woman but only to destroy their dignity.)
The system where trust in institutions once trusted has been largely eroded. The system where the common man has been encouraged to measure his self-worth in what he owns rather than in his self-respect and dignity. The system where politicians are not up to the task of leading but instead seem to put party before country. Political aims above all else. The system where the government appears to be more influenced by corporations and lobbies than by the voters who elected them. The system that reacts to injustices only when it must, after the burning not before. After the burning of blacks, after the burning of homosexuals, after the burning of the homeless, after the burning of almost everything minority related.
However, there is another system running concurrently with the one causing the problems in the U.S. That system is the one which truly holds the country together. The system of giving support to our neighbor whether he be here in the U.S. or overseas. The system which believes in miracles, the miracle that peoples from around the world can live together in peace though they come from countries where they once warred against one another. A system where hope runs deep and where hope in man's ability to get things right to make things better is the drive that makes almost all heartaches a little easier to bear.
The system that promotes American unity while at the same time respecting the important cultural self-identification that immigrants from every nation bring with them. They are able to maintain (and have respected) their personal beliefs and cultures while at the same time integrating into the American system. It is also a system that promotes self-examination both personally and nationally. A system where the freedom to ridicule all things powerful is deeply embedded in the culture encouraging us to maintain our mental independence from all things powerful. A system where love for our fellow man even when not practiced is still the goal. A system that opens doors to the poor and all minorities rather closing them. A system that calls for fairness and keeping true to the American ideals reflected in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. A system which takes pride in its young men and women who volunteer to defend their country or who join humanitarian associations here and abroad. A system which strives for doing a little more good than before.
A system which is capable of changing course quickly and rightly if the majority should chose to do so. A highly productive system one of the most productive systems in the world if not the most productive, imo. A system in which almost every nationality, religion, race, and culture is represented in almost every strata makes the U.S. the greatest and best experiment in government ever attempted. It is this inclusiveness that ensures strength and productivity. We have the strengths and capabilities of all nations working together, working in all endeavors. Diversity makes the U.S. strong.
The world knows our weaknesses and sins but we are not defined by our sins we are defined by our continued attempts to be better than we are. To not be satisfied with the present but rather to reach for a better future even if it means remaking ourselves every 30 years or so. Even if it means looking in the mirror and turning away in horror.
It is this second system working within the U.S. that supplies the energy, the hope, so necessary in a world that loves negativity, boundless negative criticisms, forgetting the good and highlighting the negative. Seeing the negative is important, very important. We cannot move forward without seeing the negative but the U.S. is much more than its problems which in truth are common to all peoples and countries around the world.
Forty years after Martin Luther King's speech where he said he has been to the mountain top and seen the promised land, a black man was elected President of the U.S. This is the potential of this country. It must hold to that potential as it strives to make right its wrongs.