My wife and I sat down to watch the new Celtic Womanconcert Saturday night. Irish music has always provided me with greatinspiration and in that regard Saturday night’s offering did not disappoint.But one song in particular from this concert caught my attention, their newsong is titled, “O, America!” For me the song was a dramatic reminder of thepromise our country has provided to a troubled world.
“O, America you’re calling. I can hear you calling me.”
We often forget the inspiration that our country hasoffered to the oppressed around the world. In fact many of our politicalleaders today are falling all over themselves trying to remind us of how we aredestroying the environment or offending the rest of the world with our “uglyAmerican” attitude. Our political leaders would ask us to believe that if wewere more tolerant of others or more focused on consuming less of the world’sprecious resources that we would be less hated by the rest of the world.
The truth is that many in the world recognize thehistoric reality of how America has stood up for liberty and freedom around theworld.
The truth is that every year more people are striving toget into America than to get out.
The truth is that many of our citizens have shed theirblood in places like Normandy, Iwo Jima, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, etc.;not to expand our borders or confiscate other nation’s resources, but to giveoppressed people a chance for individual freedom.
The truth is that although our industrial society hasmade mistakes and has sometimes been irresponsible in our environmentalstewardship; no other country has done more to address those problems.
The truth is that those who hate us most are those whowould deny freedom to others.
“O, America you’re weeping, let me heal your woundedheart.”
One could assume that these lyrics are referring to9/11, but are they? Or, are they referring to the loss of our vision offairness, equality and the power of freedom to produce a more productive andjust society? Our current leaders want us to believe that America is and hasbeen an unjust society because it has engaged in slavery, racism and economicoppression. The problem is that those accusations ignore the fact thatAmericans did not invent those horrible abuses of the human potential. Also itwas white, primarily Christian, men who risked their reputations, their fortunesand their very lives to end slavery and to pass civil rights legislation.
To me these lyrics are crying out to say we are losingour way. We have become too focused on ourselves. Too focused on theentitlements we perceive our “rich” society should provide instead of thehigher goals that have inspired us and people around the world.
Allowing injustice in the name of diversity requires nomoral courage. Allowing intolerance to go unchallenged in the name of toleranceis not enlightened. We either believe in universal human rights and individualfreedom or we are moral hypocrites. We cannot support or approve of regimes orpolitical systems that make a mockery of these basic principles.
“And I will stand by you, do all that I can do, and wewill be as one.”
In the past, we have provided inspiration to a troubledworld. Emulating the failed programs of other industrial societies does notmake us a more enlightened and just society. We can choose to become anotherfailed socialist state or we can choose to return to our American roots andlead the world to systems where all have equal access to freedom andprosperity. That will build true respect for our country and our way of life.That alone will restore the world’s hope in America.
Bill Forhan can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who would like to listen to the entire songyou can find it on-line by clicking here: