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How to be a Great Nation

And how not to do it backwards.
I resent any suggestion by our leadership that we should do anything to maintain ourselves as the greatest nation in the world. It might be argued that we have lost that position already, but it can't be denied that we did have it within the recent memory of our living population. We did not get to be the greatest nation in the world by striving for that status. We came to be the greatest nation in the world by striving to build a good life for ourselves, our families and our fellow humans.
It is true that in these attempts to live a decent and righteous existence we have failed miserably and shamefully, over and over and over. Nevertheless it was the very struggle which brought us to greatness. If we abandon our struggle to be a strong, decent and reliable people in favor of attaining greatness we will be nothing.
It is just that way with religion, one of the elements of our country that we say we value so dearly. If religion is practiced with the sole aim of controlling morality then it will fail us. Religion is pursued because it gives each and every one of us a framework against which to train our weaknesses and help us to stand against the evil winds and tides of the world. With religion as a tool and a help we can develop higher morality, righteousness and standards of decency. When morality itself becomes the goal of religion we become judgmental, vindictive and vengeful. We don't get moral decency, only legalism.

As we choose our new leadership, we don't have the option of choosing one who is perfect. All of them have serious flaws and faults. If we want to have leaders at all we will have to forgive somebody for something. The only thing we can do is to separate those who aspire to greatness from those who have found greatness because they struggled to achieve something on behalf of the rest of us. If we choose such leadership and labor along with them to conduct our every day lives and business with decency and fairness, a higher morality and greatness will follow in spite of all our failures.

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