I’ve been thinking recently about the concept of ‘Trial and Tribulation’, and what it means to the people of the United States. Every American alive today has been raised with the idea that we are the ‘greatest nation’. It has been drilled into our little, impressionable heads, in school, church and at the dinner table for as long as we can remember. The truth is that we once were the 'Greatest Nation', but are no longer.
Our greatest generation, liberated the world from fascism in the two world wars, our ancestors forged a country across this continent with shear guts and determination. But it was not without a cost. The cost in sorrow, pain and loss is what they endured to accomplish great things. It was ‘manifest destiny’, and they were compelled overcome the hurdles, and achieve one of the greatest accomplishments in recorded human history.
As humans being, we are compelled to accomplish, we are forged by tribulation and the experiences that are the natural outworking of our efforts. Events, people and situations temper our metal and mold our character.
In the absence of external stressors, our human condition often seeks to create stressful challenges. We strive for achievement, and we compete on the scholastic and occupational fields, because it is our nature. But as a nation, our posturing of greatness has become an empty promise.
We, as a nation, revered our role in the great wars, and the images it conjured in our collective and individual imaginations, of heroism and glory. We have done this to the point of trying to recreate the scenarios of national unity by picking fights across the globe. Glorifying our pugnacity and our weapons of war. Arguably, this is not to say that many of these international conflicts were not necessary but without a change in the paradigm of what makes a country great, we will continue to seek physical conflict almost unconsciously, as a way of promoting national unity.
In the absence of a national unity of peace, and achievement we have substituted other conflicts that bear the appearance of tribulation. Video games that are impossibly violent but have no actual consequences. Proud Boys, with their posturing and guns touting their patriotism but lacking the ability to keep their own houses in order. Schools and curriculums designed to teach to a test that has little relevance in teaching necessary life skills.
The politicians that ‘serve’ the population increasingly have become toadies of corporate greed. Disenfranchised from reality and living in their own version of games and misdirection are almost a perfect reflection of the populace that elected them. With no moral compass, directionless as a result, drafting laws that increasingly protect us from ourselves, but not each other, because we can no longer do that for ourselves.
We are better than this.