Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” — Alexis de Tocqueville
This quote grabbed my attention because I realized that I may no longer agree with any of it. I know that Tocqueville is admired and celebrated, but I wonder if he could have foreseen what would happen to this country so many years later.
I do think in some ways we are, or at least were, an enlightened country. To me, enlightenment is not a steady state, but a process, and compared to the rest of the world, we were head and shoulders above the rest. We were known for our honoring freedom and opportunity; many who dreamt of coming to this country believed our streets were paved with gold. No other country could offer a life where a person could succeed through hard work and persistence.
Yet I wonder if we can assert that we are the country that can “repair her faults.” We have fallen low, into the depths, and there seems to be little opportunity to find our way forward, make amends, and create new prospects for growth. We are languishing in the muck together, and there seems to be no one to pull us out and help us free ourselves to make a better future.
Or maybe—just maybe—we can take Toqueville at his word. We can trust that we have the resilience not to just pull ourselves out, but to help each other free ourselves to discover new possibilities. We can realize that this will not be a job just for individuals, but for people joining together and to start mending the cracks in the foundation of our country. It will be slow and arduous, but we can do it.