57. Perfection, or My American History, Part 5

We 21st Century Americans do not appreciate, let alone acknowledge, the single greatest gift we received from the Founding Generation. We 21st Century Americans are too full of ourselves. We 21st Century Americans are too self-important, too self-absorbed and too pointless to see and understand how hard they worked and how much focus they put upon the future--for us! It is we who are (make that were) the recipients of their hard work, but we have become too self-indulgent to care about future generations to continue to pass the Founding Generation's gift along to our children and our childrens' children. We need to go back. We need to reconnect. We need to reestablish some elemental tenants of what it means to be an American. The Founding Generation was not perfect, but they were more selfless than are we 21st Century Americans. Yes, they allowed slavery to exist and some of them profited from it; however, we 21st Century Americans also profit from slavery (in much greater numbers and to a much greater extent)--from the cheap products we buy made by slaves in foreign countries to our Wall Street investments. We invest in and reap profits from these highly profitable multi-national companies who silently reap the "rewards" of slavery while pretending their "hands are clean." We 21st Century Americans can be rather smug about what we can see with hindsight--the greed and inhumanity of earlier generations--but we don't see it in ourselves. That is we don't see ourselves being seen through the future's historical lens, but we will be. How do we want ourselves to be seen? How do we want ourselves to be remembered? What will the future think about our greed and our inhumanity? What kind of world permits slavery to exist? What kind of culture allows slavery to exist? What kind of society profits in any way, shape or form from slavery? What kind of human beings live in a world where slavery exists and they do nothing but continue to mindlessly purchase slave-made-products and to invest in slave mongering corporations? What kind of world are we creating--the world is in a constant state of becoming, if you didn't know it and it always will be--and what we do and how we treat one another in our early 21st Century world will affect the future (that is those in the later 21st Century, those in the 22nd Century, those in the 23rd Century ...) the same as it did with the Founding Generation. Life for us, or those in the Founding Generation, never has been, nor never was, easy. Life is really a test--a test of your friendship, of your character, of your ability to learn, of your willingness to grow, of your intelligence, of your patience, of your humility, of your selflessness, of your citizenship, of your emotions, of your strengths, of your weaknesses, of your decency, of your presence, of your connection to yourself, of your connection to other human beings, of your humor, of your honesty, of your honor, of your willingness, of your malleability, of your virtue, of your courage, of your understanding, of your empathy, of your uncertainty, of your wholeness, of your humanness. If everything in life is a test, it too is a test of everything these things are not.

originally posted July 2016
reposted March 2018

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