America on the Edge

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*I feel a bit torn this July 4th about hope for the future and hopelessness for the future, so this week’s Resilient Wednesday has two versions. One of hope and one of despair.
You choose your own. I know which one I believe.*

America is facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, and it feels like the nation is unraveling. The problems we face today—political division, economic instability, and social unrest—are immense and seem impossible to solve.

We pride ourselves on our resilience, but even the most vital foundations can be tested to their limits.

The nation was torn apart in the 1860s, and while the nation survived, the cost of 800,000 lives was too high. While slavery ended, our worst angels allowed Jim Crow to continue this national sin for another one hundred years.

In my parents’ era, the Great Depression and World War II brought immense hardship and threatened our very existence. That all ended with Harry Truman bringing out the atomic bomb that ended one war and started another.

During my childhood, the fight for racial equality and the turmoil of the Vietnam War led to widespread unrest and the tragic loss of 50,000 American lives. Change happened for the good, but the early signs of the national divide started then.

Today, we are engulfed in crises that seem to never end. Political polarization has never been more severe; people struggle to make ends meet, and social divisions run deep. Trust in our institutions is at an all-time low, bringing new conflicts and crises every day. The vision of a united and thriving America feels more distant than ever.

Yet, there remains a flicker of hope in these darkest times. Our history has shown that we can endure and rebuild even when faced with overwhelming challenges. Our resilience isn’t just about surviving; it’s about finding a way to renew and grow stronger.

Every generation must face its own set of trials, and this one is no different. The road ahead is fraught with difficulties, but we must believe in our ability to navigate through these turbulent times.

Happy Fourth of July!

© Richard Citrin 2024

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