America's Best Fuel: 'A Moral and Religious People'
It's amazing just how complicated everything has become in America. We find ourselves divided, confused, and distracted. We are obsessed with personalities rather than ideas and focused on symptoms rather than the disease they stem from.
Clearly, a fresh perspective is in order. For all those commonsense Americans devoting their time and resources to searching for an effective means to contribute, some way to make a difference, let's cut to the chase, shall we? Let's start with identifying the root of our problem.
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." -John Adams
How incredibly succinct. In two sentences, Mr. Adams managed to sum up America's proper operating instructions.
Though the matter could not be more clear, over time, this simple proclamation of truth has obviously come to be regarded as nothing more than opinion, rendering an absolute as something that is negotiable, if not infinitely flexible.
Unfortunately, as it generally goes with absolutes, they are anything but flexible. Sure, we can choose to ignore them, or simply twist them to mean whatever may happen to suit us at the moment, but we do so at our own peril.
So why does our system seem broken -- why does our government no longer work on our behalf? Adams's simple equation provides the answer.
Our postmodern society would do well to view Adams's brilliant insight as a big red warning label affixed to the nation's founding documents. Just as with those ubiquitous labels found on any product imaginable -- "Do not stand on top rung"; "Do not use hair dryer while sitting in water" -- Adams is pointing out what is painfully obvious.
"Do not use this to govern any but a moral and religious people!" Otherwise, not only does the system not operate properly, but to operate it at all is downright dangerous!
America is overlooking the obvious. We might as well use water in our car's gasoline tank and then stand around scratching our heads when the car doesn't run okay.
Actually, that corresponds nicely with a similar metaphor: as the nation has slowly abandoned morality, we have effectively modified her fuel. Sure, America's engine may run on something other than what was specifically designed for it, but not at peak performance. Increasingly, as we deviate farther from the ideal mixture (a moral and religious people) to run this type of engine, the engine works less efficiently and wears faster. Eventually, the car no longer runs as it should and becomes completely unreliable.
As America's performance increasingly declines, in a state of growing confusion and frustration, Adams's simple axiom beckons. If only we would refer to the owner's manual to ensure that we haven't overlooked anything.
As it is, we obsess over selecting a new driver every few years, convinced that this will deliver the results we're after. Indeed, we have grown so desperate for solutions that we now spend 40% of our time consumed with the presidential election cycle.
With each new driver, the hope of a seemingly fresh approach placates us temporarily, but the vehicle's performance never fulfills our expectations. It still seems sluggish, and eventually we come to realize that the new driver is incapable of tweaking the performance any better than his predecessor could.
Try as we might, something just isn't right.
While considerable debate seems to focus on whether or not America still constitutes a majority of "moral and religious people," the matter is somewhat irrelevant. What is inarguable is that today's society includes a significant portion of citizens who want nothing to do with anyone's idea of morality or religion.
In fact, a rather vocal and antagonistic subculture has surfaced, so prolific that its purveyors do quite well for themselves by mocking and demonizing anything remotely smacking of "moral" or "religious." Bill Maher provides a stellar example.
Let's not forget: our government is one built strictly upon the concept of compromise, and therein lies the rub. For today, perhaps Americans no longer have enough morality in common, nor philosophy for that matter. Never mind national interest, particularly considering all the dissenting non-Americans running about. Yes, we have given them a de facto seat at the table, too.
Adams affirms the source of our angst. We have a choice: continue to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, or realistically discuss our options in dealing with it.
George Scaggs is a writer, commentator, voice actor, and audio/video producer based in Austin, TX. His commentary can be found at sites including American Thinker, GOPUSA, and Ramparts360.com.