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The Problem With America Is…. me?

December 13, 2011

Before you jump to conclusions, I am not about to admit some great crime.  I have often pondered the myriad problems facing America, most frequently with no conclusive result.  It is easy to point a finger at someone else and blame them for America’s problems.  Whether the flavor of the month is guns or lawyers or politicians or welfare or greedy rich people, most of us have at one point or another found ourselves assigning blame to others.

Yesterday, I had opportunity to hear part of a Focus on the Family interview of Chuck Colson.  You can view or listen to it here.  You may remember Chuck Colson as being one of the players in the Watergate scandal that ultimately brought the end of the Richard Nixon presidency.  He has moved in the highest circles of power, and has spent time in jail for his role in Watergate.  He is now working with prison ministries and leadership training around the globe.

Mr. Colson put forth an idea that startled me, but made sense as I took time to ponder it.  He said that “Washington, D.C.” is not the problem with America.  His theory is that politics in general is a reflection of the culture that it represents.

After some thought, I have to agree.  Our culture now shows the lack of many of the things which once made it great.  The depression we are going through is a direct result of one of the glarings deficiencies in our society – the ability for one to spend less than one earns.  The work ethic that once made America famous is another example.

Our culture is made up of individuals – you, me, and many more just like us.  We have the ability to shape and define the culture around us on a daily basis.  It has been said that the person with the smallest amount of influence directly influences at least seven people every day.  While I may not be able to change the entire world, I can choose how I affect those around me.  With this in mind, I am at least partially responsible for the current state of affairs in my beloved USA.  The problem is me.

This realization is not one that should cause only remorse and inactivity.  This thought should be a galvanizing factor in my life.  I should show on a daily basis those values that I would like my leaders to show.  I should strive to instill those values and the truths to support them in my children.  I should affirm those values in the people I interact with at every opportunity.

I should be not only the problem, but the beginning of the solution as well.

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