For the past year, we as Americans have had our joyous and disappointing moments. We now stand between two worlds; the dying old and hopefully today, an emerging new. Individuals now, more than ever before, face a personal choice, either continue on this path of self-defeating hate or live as Jesus Christ demands.

In a free society, individuals rightfully have political and ideological differences. What is concerning is the lack of respect for one another and a political system reaped in controversy. It is discouraging to me, that this societies most vulnerable, our young children and senior citizens are witnessing this monumental abnormality in Washington, D.C. Considering today’s climate, what does any parent tell their children? Dishonesty, lies, trickery and disrespect seemingly has become acceptably normal. These children are the benefactors of this shame and America cannot escape this indictment.

On a rainy day, many years ago, I observed an older lady walking in the rain. She was walking with an umbrella, carrying her purse, and one bag of groceries. After stopping, I offered her a ride, assuring her I would not harm her, she then accepted. We then introduced ourselves. At that point, I asked her how she was doing. Her response, “son, I am eighty years old and receive just enough money each month to pay my rent and buy one bag of groceries.”

Voices now in leadership judge success in America by its relationship to the stock market. Success can never be measured by stocks and bonds but only by what is done for the lesser of these (i.e. the poor, homeless, and challenged). That little old man and woman that lives in every community that worked scrubbing floors, washing dishes, cleaning, etc., trying to make ends meet, now face this uncertainty. Politicians under the cloak of darkness, cutting Medicaid and/or Medicare only magnifies this uncertainty. The average American’s concerns are not the stock market but the super market. Some of these politicians remind me, metaphorically, of the rich man who wanted to build an abundance of bigger barns. Sadly, these politicians wish to build more barns for themselves.

I believe we are now living in the Book of Revelations. This path we collectively have taken displeases our “Creator”. The ego of some individuals in leadership has put this great nation in a position of self-imposed destruction. We see an interest in “I” rather than “We”. The ego is in constant need of attention, must be stroked and propped up by others, which are dangerous qualities. It may very well be that one day, America may wake up (metaphorically) under the rule of some third world country that no nothing of Jesus Christ.

Silent voices and institutions must speak up and become the thermostat, not the thermometer if these solvable issues are to be solved. There can be no grander place to be heard than at the ballot box. The late Ms. Catherine Shows (educator of former Oak Park High School) would always remind her students of the issue of importance. She said “stick a pen in it.” I must now say the same thing to America. Why is the trust today, so assiduously avoided?

The poet, Dante Alighieri said “the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

Johnny F. Harper


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