Who Are We As A Nation and What Do We Believe?

by Diane Dimond on June 1, 2015

We Are a Bundle of Contradictions

We Are a Bundle of Contradictions

We live in a world of confounding contradictions.

We call ourselves a peace loving people yet we continue to engage in far flung wars. Domestically, gangs, guns and drug dealing proliferate. This is not a recipe for peace by any measure.

Nearly half of us say they are morally against the death penalty. Yet, a jury in Boston – a decidedly anti-capital punishment region of the country – sentenced to death the surviving Boston Marathon Bomber, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnav. 

James Holmes - Colorado Theater Shooter Killed 12, Wounded 70

James Holmes – Colorado Theater Shooter Killed 12, Wounded 70

Another jury in Aurora, Colorado is currently considering the death penalty for an admitted killer who, in July of 2012, shot to death a dozen movie goers and wounded at least 70 others at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie. This defendant also outfitted his apartment with an elaborate and deadly booby-trap hoping to kill those who arrived to investigate.

We earnestly say we feel for families struggling to help a relative with mental illness but society has done little to help establish institutions to treat these unfortunate people. We seem blind to the idea that if we help the most tortured souls among us they can’t or won’t harm themselves or others.

We automatically expect that when we call 911 police will instantly and heroically come to our rescue.  Yet, many fail to understand that officers are constantly confronted with situations that require snap decisions and the deadly, daily dangers they face can cause their very human instinct of survival to kick in – even when it’s not really a life-or-death situation.

Too Many Lawsuits - And We All Pay

Too Many Lawsuits – And We All Pay

We preach personal responsibility then think nothing of suing over an accident hoping someone or some entity with deep pockets will make us rich.

Many cry for “income equality” across the land. But stop and think about that. A nation where everyone makes the same money, regardless of their work product, is socialism. Is that really what we want? Forced equality is not fair.

Many condemn big business and corporations as “evil” and want them abolished. Yet they have never run a business or provided job opportunities for their fellow Americans. They fail to realize where jobs that can lift people out of poverty come from. Conversely, corporate leaders who advertise their good deeds but pay no taxes are an abomination.

We claim we are for good government yet continue to re-elect politicians who lack the integrity, drive and foresight to do what’s right for the country. We know Washington is a mess but our busy lives keep us from focusing on how to fix it. We repeatedly fall prey to huckster politicians who promise everything and only deliver to their own political party. Even worse, a majority of us don’t even bother to vote.

Good Government Does Not Occur Here

Good Government Does Not Occur Here

Some law abiding Americans plea for amnesty for all those who have entered our country illegally. They extol the virtues and good intentions of the alien working class while ignoring the very real problems that come with opening our borders. Overtaxed hospitals, schools and welfare programs, for example.  Giving away resources comes with a price.

Contradictions abound yet few seem to notice. Maybe we’ve just stopped thinking through today’s issues.

Who among us doesn’t say they want an exemplary, competitive, affordable education system for our youth? But can you honestly say we have one?  No.

When will we stop saying we’re for something and then fail to act to make it happen? That’s more than a contradiction, I fear. It is self-destructive.

We claim to be an enlightened group of parents who protect our young like no generation before us but check the growing number of missing, exploited and sexually abused children. We may brag we are “helicopter parents” who perpetually hover to swat away danger but, sadly, the statistics prove there aren’t enough good parents to go around.

Thugs Come in All Colors

Thugs Come in All Colors

We distract ourselves and argue about things that mean so little.  Like whether the word “thug” is racist. Criminal thugs live in crime ridden inner city neighborhoods and they commit multiple murders in Waco, Texas over something as silly as a motorcycle gang rivalry. Thugs are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian and lots of colors in between.

A wise man once told me that when confronted with a myriad of problems there is really only one main problem.

So, what’s this nation’s one problem? It is us.

We have failed to install the leadership this country deserves. It is way past time to change that. Wonder if we will see that change in our lifetimes?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

ABQ Journal Reader Marty Glenn writes:

Dear Ms. Dimond,

I always make a point of reading what you write. By and large, although we may not agree on everything, so much of what you write resonates with me. I’m 53, married, have one child. I have worked in public education at various levels for 30 years. My husband is probably one of the best human beings I know and embodies what integrity means every day. He’s a jack of all trades, a geologist wanna-be, and currently an excellent teacher and part time administrator for a Catholic school. We are trying like crazy to lead our son to the true treasure of gratitude, hard work, kindness, generosity, curiosity, etc.

I thoroughly agreed with your musings posed in your article titled, “Americans Living Amid a Mass of Contradictions” via the May 30, 2015 Albuquerque Journal. I think our society is guilty of that old fashioned yet accurate phrase, “we want our cake and to eat it, too.” There is so much abdication of responsibility and yet so much self-righteousness as well. It blows me away daily.

Here’s the only sentence in your article that I wish maybe had been worded differently: “We have failed to install the leadership this country deserves.” To me, while you’re whole article basically asks the reader to be introspective and think about his/her own conduct, and how each individual impacts the small and the large picture at hand, that sentence suddenly seems to lay it at the feet of our President or some identified leader or group of leaders – and it made your thoughtful and accurate article feel “political” suddenly. And obviously, you have the right to frame it however you want. I am tired, though, of people laying their own individual responsibilities at the feet of some political leader. You said it, “it’s us” not anyone else, and you gave numerous excellent examples of how each individual really does affect our status quo as a country. I know leadership is pivotal and can act as inspiration as well as put forth the boundaries we sometimes need placed in front of us, like children. I think, though, at this point, ANY leadership NEEDS US to GET REAL and flex our own leadership muscle in a way that shoots down the middle and endeavors to work for the good for all let alone individuals. I know, too, it’s all easier said than done, unfortunately.

Anyhow, I appreciate your article overall. You always make me think. Thanks for your excellent words and your effort to get people in general to mull on things. That can’t hurt!

Take care now.

Marty Glenn
Albuquerque, NM

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

ABQ Journal Reader Bettie Dossett writes:

“Diane D.:
This morning (May 30) I read your entire column (I seldom read this page in the Journal. I, too, am much concerned about all the lopsided idiocy and inequality that confronts us in our daily lives. The “death penalty” is a big question – I think often of it and “hear” “Thou shalt not kill” BUT at the same time I wonder about what seems a true injustice in requiring the taxpayers to pay, for many years, the costly upkeep of these who have committed crimes against this very society.

As for voting in replacements for Government we seldom – RARELY – see any who are ready and willing to take on those offices.

Please SO NOT DISREGARD THE FOLLOWING: Astrology, though many do disregard it, if studied and applied properly to this human existence, could and would solve many of the problems that confront us.

Properly mated women and men would have suitably or properly ” birth dated” children. People would be placed in proper employment or work environments.

Even as it is we each DO HAVE a “guardian Angel” if we can learn to listen to that “still small voice”.

Amazon published, last year, my first (at my age it may be my ONLY book) my Chapter 13 may interest you. The first 12 chapters are about my growing up on 2 farms in Indiana – you may be too busy to find time to read it but I’d like you to consider the chapter 13 in which I refer to Giorgio’s editorial in Vol. 10 #1 “Legendary Times” about a Russian Scientist, Nikolai Kardashev’s study of energy….

I need to stop here….I have found that these e-mail’s to the Journal rarely go through I hope this does and that you will contact me – I can give you the address of Legendary Times if you do not have it or I could send a photo-copy of mine.

Bettie

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 10:59 am

Reader Stephen Verchinski writes:

“You have such a lock on the meme of what is and what isn't. Just a few are glaring.
You would not know a social democracy is very obvious in your description of it being forced equality.
I have run a company and I like other americans want antitrust followed. Big business do in many cases operate when govt does not set the rules as trusts, monopolies (think absurd patent protections past three years) and restrainers of trade and call for free markets as NO government. Think the Obama trade deal.
There is no contradiction in wanting corporaions to pay taxes either… we are both “persons” as one mittster once noted.
Many don't vote because of the closing of the party selection process nationally not just because of hucksters.
Personally I am already contributing and hope to see that socially concerned patriot and supporter of veterans Bernie Sanders kick Hillary and eventually become our President.
Maybe you should have ended with a plea for this leadership.”

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

Mr. Verchinski,
Not really sure of all your points here but I welcome diverse opinions here. Its all about the DISCUSSION to me.
However, you should know that I do not write about national politics – although they sometimes come into play in my crime and justice OpEd pieces – and I will never endorse one party or candidate over another. There are plenty of other columnists who do that.
Sincerely,
Diane Dimond

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

Creators Syndicate Reader Howard DeShetler writes:

“Great Article, Carol….an awful lot of truth in there!”

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 11:04 am

Well, thank you! But my first name is Diane.
~DD

Reply

Diane Dimond June 2, 2015 at 11:13 am

ABQ Journal Reader William Baldwin writes:

“Diane: Your May 30 Op-Ed said it all. Amen!”

William Baldwin
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Reply

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