Too many of us have taken our American birthright for granted. We consider ourselves patriots because we stand up and cheer the “Hero of the Game” during hockey matches, plant a hand over our heart for the national anthem and wave a flag on the Fourth of July.
There’s more to being a true patriot than that.
We are at a crossroads as a people and a country, with half of us going down one road and half the other.
Our president is being investigated for high crimes and misdemeanors, and while none of us get a vote on that, we all get a say in the court of public opinion.
This is a somber and serious time that will test our institutions and impact who we are as a people.
The politics are an abomination that only we can end as a people by demanding more from our political leaders.
That means you need to be informed; not of the politics, but of the facts.
You need to take this seriously, because too many of our leaders have not. Whatever you think you have been doing to be a good citizen has not been enough.
Less than half of us voted in the election earlier this month.
Few of us weigh in on town board issues or write a thoughtful letter to the editor.
But there are no shortage of opinions.
We can change that over the next few weeks, because our country needs our attention more than ever, and if you have already decided how this all turns out, you are already lost.
That’s not being a good citizen.
I believe the vast majority of us are a conglomeration of conservative and liberal values who are open to new ideas, American ideas, yet too often we are told we have to be one or the other. There is nothing wrong with being in the middle.
Let’s stand for America over the next few weeks by knowing the facts.
That’s where this gets tricky.
We are a divided nation with little faith in the institutions that have made us great. Too many of us believe in conspiracies, and that every person who testifies has political motives.
I don’t believe that.
I believe in an America that still has good people trying to do good things for the betterment of the country.
That’s the America I live in.
If you can believe that not every person is partisan, well, that’s as good a place to start as any.
The news media itself has been under attack. The premise is that thousands and thousands of journalists are united in one political ideology in complete opposition to the ethics policies that rule their operations.
If you can believe that not every person in the media is partisan, that is also a good place to start.
If you can believe the vast majority of reporters and editors do their best to provide the best information possible, we could be on the road to recovery.
It has to start somewhere, with trust in something.
But ultimately, you have to believe something. And you have to be right this time. The stakes are too high.
Hearings began last week in the House of Representatives and will continue this week.
Most of you are probably at work.
That can’t stop you from being informed.
That can’t stop you from scrutinizing the details and figuring out what is true and what is not.
It can’t stop you from demanding that morality return to this blood sport of politics.
Most of all, the politicians can’t be trusted.
They have proven they are the problem by choosing party over country.
This is a historic moment for our country.
And there is a chance this will not turn out well.
It’s time to commit yourself to being a better citizen.
It’s time to put your hand over your heart and prove your patriotism.
It’s time to take your country back with your research and fact-finding.
There is still power with the people if they have knowledge.
Ken Tingley is editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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