Make America great again!, the Trumpers cry. Some of their opponents say that America was never great.
What is the truth?
America has never been perfect, but it has been great.
I am not so foolish as to bathe all past times in a nostalgic mist that obscures all flaws. We are a nation composed of sinful human beings. We have made mistakes. We have countenanced injustice. We have failed to live up to our highest ideals. Nevertheless, I believe our virtues far outnumber our vices. In the past, we as a people always sought to do the right thing, and our Judeo-Christian heritage constantly pushed us in the direction of higher ground.
Is that still true? Where is our present sense of vision? From whence do we derive our concepts of purpose and direction, of right and wrong? Has our public morality become equivalent to the lowest common denominator of public taste and tolerance? Have we abandoned our traditional concepts of truth and goodness in favor of relativistic nonsense? Is everyone free to do that which is right in his own eyes, or do we seek the common good? Do we no longer believe that there are certain eternal verities?
Wake up America! Let us return to our moral foundation, that sturdy tree of liberty and justice that sprang from the rich soil of our Judeo-Christian ethical heritage and the ideals of which were so beautifully expressed in our founding documents.
Do we seek fulfillment in fleeting hedonistic pleasures, or do we dream again the “patriot’s dream” of a nation crowned with brotherhood and filled with “alabaster cities . . . undimmed by human tears,”
Restore the vision, return to our roots, and lift high the sacred banners of truth, freedom and justice over our “shining city on the hill.”