Looking Over the Edge

By Fred Kusch

My dad used to admonish my siblings and me to always be aware of the “opera singers” we would encounter in life. You all know the type; they are constantly proclaiming “Me, Me, Me” about something they want, something they dislike or people they want to be like. It’s all about them, their rights, their viewpoint or their way of looking at the world, be it government, religion or people who are different. If you don’t agree with them, you are unpatriotic, un-American, and unchristian. Simply put, it seems it’s “their way or the highway.” Your way, needs, beliefs or view of the world do not count.

The common good has become what’s only good for me. What I believe is the only belief. “I am my brother’s keeper” has been seemingly replaced by “screw my brother and my neighbor.” Helping people become the best they can be has been replaced by “he’s lazy,” “she doesn’t want to work,” or “they’re different and not like me.”

I ask: Whatever happened to the public good, loving thy neighbors, and understanding and embracing diversity so we can all love and grow?

It seems the America I grew up in has lost its way. The thing we do best as Americans in 2016 is sing “Me, Me, Me” or “I, I, I.” We seem to be driven by greed, fear, ignorance, anti-intellectualism and lazy thinking. Too many of us want what we want, and we want to take more from others as well. Expedience and the lack of human integrity, character, and value for fellow human beings seem to be the way we will succeed materially, spiritually or politically in 2016.

Me Me MeWhat is most depressing is that for the past 12 months, the majority of those seeking the most important and arguably the most powerful office in the world have been pandering to hate, bigotry, racism, nationalism and fear to sell their brand of leadership. What is most frightening is that it appears many Americans are buying it. Everyone, it seems, has rights as the Constitution provides, but very few are willing to understand the importance of the responsibilities that go along with those rights. Too many have forgotten that “We the people” means ALL the people, not just a chosen few. We all need to be reminded of the words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” that accompany the Statue of Liberty, an American icon of freedom.

Sadly, it appears to me that all of the above may be coming to a crescendo this November in an opera of “Me, Me, Me.” I only hope we won’t be buying tickets to that opera, and instead can find common ground, singing loud and clear, “Us, Us, USA.”

“My dream is a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope
on earth.” — Abraham Lincoln

Fred Kusch is the owner of JFK Associates. For more information, please call (608) 792-3332 or visit www.jfkassociates.com.