Maybe you heard that widely circulated political comment this past week, “…[America] was never that great.” (If you missed it, you can look up that exact quote online and get the context).
Let me be perfectly honest here. When I heard that sound clip on the news, my first thought was, “Who said that?” Maybe you bristled inside as I did, wanting to go on the defensive. After all, we recently talked about historical great Americans, not as has- beens but as heroes. Perhaps there’s a temptation to get mad, fight back, or just despair of any hope for our country. Frankly, I don’t think this is the way to respond to an accusation of American mediocrity. Who said the statement or what political party they are affiliated with is not germane to the issue. In order to apply common sense to our civics and citizenship we might first ask, “Is it true?” Secondly, what is the context of said statement? Identity politics is not a tenet of common sense civics and citizenship. Seeking the truth, regardless of political identity is how we roll.
The person who holds this mediocre opinion of America went on to say that America will not be great until every woman’s potential is realized. Who will be the arbiter of whether each and every woman has reached her potential? How do we know our potential until we look back on our lives and do an inventory of whether or not we used the gifts we have been given to the best of our ability?
How do you approach statements of mediocrity where America is concerned? Do you think about the facts or just react? Do you base your opinion solely on political affiliation? Here, we think first, then act. That’s Common Sense Civics and Citizenship.