OpEd: What Is The United States of America?

What Is The United States of America?

OpEd Commentary by Warren J. Blumenfeld

What is this country, this entity, this thing we call the United States of America?

Is it a beacon of light for the rest of the world, a land of opportunity and liberty? Is it truly a place where the wrecked refuse from endless realms come to breathe free?

Is it a reality, or is it a dream unfulfilled?

Or is it a cruel myth, a false idol to lust after as panting Greyhounds chase the elusive counterfeit rabbit around a fateful track?

Is this thing we call the United States of America invincible? Is it a never-ending experiment? Or does it have a defined shelf life, a do-not-use-after date?

Is it special or is it unique? And is it “exceptional” as so many claim? Or are they simply hyperbolic or merely deluded?

But whatever this thing we call the United States of America has been, and whatever it is now, We the People of this nation must together decide what we want to be going forward.

In fact, we must backup and first ask ourselves whether we want to go forward or, rather, do we wish to languish in the mire of our unresolved and, for many, unexamined past.

Socrates told us that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

On the larger and collective level, I say that the unexamined nation has no future. The ghosts and undercurrents of the past will sweep that nation away, back, preventing it from creating or even imagining any further history.

Throughout the lifespan of this relatively young country, many fault lines have surfaced while others are yet to be exposed. How we decide where we are to go from here will determine whether we can survive the next major earthquake.


Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of The What, the So What, and the Now What of Social Justice Education (Peter Lang Publishers), Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense), and co-author of Looking at Gay and Lesbian Life (Beacon Press).


Permission granted to forward, post, or publish this commentary: warrenblumenfeld@gmail.com

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