As a member of a UtahPolicy.com panel I was invited to respond to a question which framed many of the challenges we face as a nation and if there were reasons to be optimistic about America’s future.
Here are a few of my thoughts:
It is true that we are in the midst of some difficult days and trying times as a nation. Yet I remain convinced that our best days as a country are still ahead of us. Why the optimism? It has little to do with glasses being half full or even rose-colored. It has everything to do with the American people and the uniquely American principles that have fueled and fostered the greatest civilization the world has ever known.
I have traveled the country, and the core principles, values and ideas of freedom, free enterprise, education, empowered citizens, civil society and opportunity still ring true to Americans from every walk of life. These are not liberal or conservative ideas – they are simply American. I have seen these ideas manifest in big cities and rural communities; I have heard these principle echo from podiums in convention centers to the pulpits of churches; and I have felt the stirring strains of our American voice as these values were spoken softly to children in inner-city schools and in humble homes. American principles have made and moved our nation.
There are some political elites, media outlets and well-connected interests who want the American people to believe that we are just too fractured and divided as a nation to use our principles and ideas to address any of the big issues of our time. Health care, immigration, religious liberty, LGBT rights and more are all just too contentious to deal with – they say. Unfortunately this ensures that nothing changes, the status quo prevails, and they continue to control the power, money and influence.
I reject the idea that we are on the verge of a civil war. I believe we are actually on the verge of a civil debate. And oddly, this year’s raucous presidential cycle may just be the catalyst for such a national conversation to take place. America is always at its best when we are a nation of big ideas and honest, open, respectful debate. The kinds of conversations that were central to the emergence of a new nation will be the cornerstone of a new American century.
Why do I believe this is possible? Because I live in Utah – where, despite our problems and differences – we prove it can be done.
You can read my response and those of other Utah thought leaders at UtahPolicy.com.
For Sutherland Institute, this is Boyd Matheson. Thanks for engaging.
This post is an edited transcript of the Sutherland Soapbox, a weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations. The podcast can be found below.
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