Here's the thing: we can get better, if we choose to.
If we choose to listen and stop sniping at each other.
If we choose to help when we see something wrong.
If we choose to regulate ourselves wholly.
If we think of others before we speak or do.
If we try to see someone else's perspective before condemning it.
If we start accepting where we are and begin being thoughtful about how to go forward. Not putting 'me+mine' front and center but looking at the big picture as a whole. I see that we have much that is out of balance, however I also believe that there is a lot of good in our nation. We have to be able to see both of these, and to create a system which does honor the basic good that people do.
This does mean reforming our public assistance, social services and our mental health services.Could we provide support and skills to parents who are challenged in raising their families, so we break cycles before they begin and get our kids help without the usual judgment? We need to be supporting families instead of permitting laws which allow--and even facilitate--the destruction of families which face hard challenges, most especially health-related and financial ones. The fact that some working parents cannot earn accrued sick days at some jobs is just one example of how we need our lawmakers to *help* families instead of allowing things like the deregulation of the financial sector, which turned into this most recent depression.
We need lawmakers who are beholden to their constituents, not the lobbyists. Which means we need (desperately) election and campaign finance reform. How many billions were spent on the last election on Ads? Who benefited from this? Who *could have better benefited* from that money?
I am concerned that we have stopped valuing childhood in healthy ways and are now headed toward a track of too-old, too soon with some of our kids. Other children who face challenges, either culturally, intellectually, physically or emotionally--these kids' needs aren't being met. These problems have varied sources: broken social and educational systems, deregulation of what is being advertised and shown to children, too much technology, too early for some kids-- and,once again, the legislation which does not support healthy families.
I'm not for moving overseas, personally. I'm in favor of teaching my morals to my son as part of our 'family culture'. I'm a secular humanist and feel that no matter what our religion or beliefs, humans are called upon to do well by each other and to care for each other whenever possible. The bare minimum is being courteous. The extraordinary acts of parents and families going beyond their own comfort zone to act compassionately toward others through adoption, charity, volunteering and more--this is part of the good fight that I want to participate in.
Those people who would desecrate what we hold dear--which are the freedoms and liberties allowed to our citizens-- with desperate or brutal acts..... I cannot let them win. I accept them as one part of this life here. Let's also remember that in other countries, morals run just as extreme. Homosexuals are persecuted. There is religious and racially based genocide. There is intolerance toward people who are 'other' than the dominant population. Countries who purport to be extra holy and devout still have a reputation for human trafficking and scary prostitution rings. We are a country of honest, honorable people and still we must do battle in the courts and through law with the greedy, selfish people who would sell their mother for a quick buck.
There are no easy answers. Perhaps personal responsibility balanced with social responsibility is my answer. My idea of this may look completely different than someone else's, by the way. But it's worth starting the discussion....
ETA: wow, Riley, your Heinlein is chilling. I do agree. Reminds me of Huxley's Brave New World, too. the "People are just meant to be used and dominated" attitude. ugh.