BY Bill Reagan
Two hundred forty years ago 56 men pledged their lives and fortunes to a new, independent nation, The United States of America.
Forming the new nation was no easy task. First a war, then a decade of working out the structure of the new government, finally a Constitution and Bill of Rights were adopted which govern our nation to this day.
I wonder whether they knew what a great thing they had started. The United States has become the model of liberty and the greatest power the world has ever seen. Millions have left their ancestral homelands to become part of our great experiment in democracy.
Great men have great flaws. Great nations have them too.
Many people think modern American is in decline. I would rather live now in America than in any other place or time. We know freedoms and prosperity of which the Founding Fathers could never have dreamed.
To admit our imperfections makes us greater.We should expose our flaws and do the hard work of correcting them. This is never an easy task. America is better because people are no longer enslaved. America is better because it is against the law to discriminate against others because of their personal characteristics.
One of the truly great songs ever written is “Margaritaville,” by Jimmy Buffet. You probably know the chorus, “Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville, searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt, some people claim there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s nobody’s fault.” The chorus is repeated three times. The last phrase changes each time. The second time he sings, “it could be my fault.” The third chorus is the point of the whole song, “some people claim there’s a woman to blame, but I know – it’s my own damn fault.”
Many are dismayed by America’s current flaws. Our flaws are the flaws of a great people. They are our “own damn fault.” And we can fix them.
Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.