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OPINION

America faces a moment of choice

The Examiner

Whenever there is an incident of some sort that causes people to trample their better angels underfoot, others see it as an opportunity to handwring and declare "This is not who we are."

America is one of the most unfailingly generous, expansive, innovative and brilliant countries the world has ever known.

Charita Goshay

More than once, we've taken up arms and sent our sons and daughters across the seas to fight for other people's freedom. We've saved untold millions of people from starvation and despotism.

But, America, we have some issues.

The disturbing image staring back at us in the mirror right now is also who we are.

The same country that has fostered so much good is coming undone over issues of race, class, injustice, economic inequality and a pandemic that has become a political blackjack.

Outrage is now perpetual, and the demagoguery that feeds it has fractured families and severed friendships.

White supremacy has become a growth industry, no longer reticent, and producing groups that have fomented fierce, even violent resistance to the demographic changes they see and fear.

The country has not yet made good on its promissory note of equality issued to Black Americans upon their emancipation. Martin Luther King Jr. famously called it the equivalent of receiving a bad check.

And yet Black Americans still believe, deeply, that America is worthy of the faith their ancestors placed in it. The declaration that Black Lives Matter, too, underscores abiding confidence that, when pressed, America will do that which is right.

A steady diet of conspiracies and a self-imposed sense of victimhood have turned ordinary people across the political spectrum into paranoid social-media addicts feeding only on information with which they already agree.

Our allies are no longer sure they trust us. They only show us deference because we're still the big dogs on the block. But for how long?

Ronald Reagan warned in essence that freedom is only one generation away from demise, meaning that it must be preserved, protected and defended in each and every age.

So, how do we protect this gift, this government of the people?

By taking part in it.

The long lines of determined Americans waiting patiently to cast their vote are a breath of hope. 

It tells us that enough people remember that theirs is the country that conquered polio, the moon, Hitler and Tojo, and built the Empire State Building in the depths of the Great Depression.

It tells us that we must choose to do the hard work of recapturing the greatness to which other nations once aspired, or settle for limping along, unable to exude leadership or accomplish even the simplest tasks.

Our biggest fight is not with one another, but the one we must wage to protect the integrity and availability of the ballot. Without the ability of ordinary citizens to have a say in our nation's destiny, nothing else matters.

Because choice is such an integral part of what it means to be a free people, we must choose this day which America we're going to be.

Reach Charita Goshay at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com.