America the Beautiful, a great patriotic song with wonderful, inspiring lyrics. The lyricist and the composer saw a potential for greatness as this nation evolved. In truth, that prophetic vision of America has never materialized; and it's a vision that is rapidly fading. The America in which we currently live is strikingly different from the one as depicted by those words. Beautiful words become meaningless when the will to make them a reality does not exist.
Brotherhood can be described as a body of people bonding together in a common cause, a kinship of fellow human beings. That song could be thought of as portraying a greatness that develops as the bonding of the people becomes stronger over time. It spoke of brotherhood, unselfishness, and success through nobleness as the formula for creating a society in which people were able to overcome their differences and prejudices and learned how to work together in harmony.
Both the second and last verses of the song use the theme of crowning good with brotherhood so that's also the theme that will used in this article. I firmly believe that one of the biggest underlying reasons for the many critical problems that exist in America faces today is the fact that, instead of a brotherhood in which we are all pulling together to make this nation stronger, various nefarious elements of this society are in the process of making our divisions ever deeper.
So let's examine and discuss a few of these verses to see how they relate to what is happening in the America society of today:
*And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. Does this form of brotherhood exist in this nation in which the disparity of wealth and income is the highest among the 32 industrialized nations of the world? A nation in which 45 million Americans live below the poverty line and a like number try to survive on food stamps? Does anyone see any evidence that the so-called 1% of Americans who control about 35% of the total wealth of this country have any concern whatsoever for the serious problems that so many of their fellow Americans face?
While I'm a supporter of the Occupy Movement I don't agree with its mantra that pits the 1% of wealthiest Americans against the 99%; I would venture to say that a better estimate of the two opposite sides is more like 20% versus 80%. Within that 20% are millions of Americans who have very good paying jobs with excellent benefits, who lack for nothing. And from my contacts with a wide array of individuals, I find that many of them are strong supporters of the GOP agenda that is intent on dismantling this nation's most important social programs that benefit millions of Americans. So, people of this mindset are not the least bit supportive of the Occupy Movement and its objectives.
*Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine. Where, pray tell, can we see where this vision of success based on nobleness is to be found in America today? Can we find it in the banking industry that bends and manipulates the laws of the land to trick people through the creation of a myriad of financial ploys and schemes? Is that what is called nobleness? Can we find success through nobleness in the weapons industry that profits from our endless wars that cause so much death and destruction in the world?
*Till selfish gain no longer stain the banner of the free. Sorry but in the America of today selfish gain still stains our national identity as exemplified by greed and selfishness of giant corporations who have no sense of brotherhood as they transfer the jobs of our workers to other countries, all in the name of more and more profits. The corporations who dominate the health and insurance industry and Big Pharma that are making enormous profits by constantly driving up the costs to their captive customers are a dark stain on this society.
*Thine alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears. Large portions of many cities in America don't gleam at all; they are dangerous, dismal places where millions of people are penned in and find it very difficult to find employment because thousands of U.S. factories have been closed; where children get less than an adequate education; where the majority of peaceful people can readily become victims of vicious crimes committed by those who feel a sense of hopelessness and have no reason to believe that conditions will change in the future. How much of America's wealth is being spent to alleviate these conditions?
Universal health care may be the clearest indicator of the lack of brotherhood in America. When I hear the negative opinions of those who oppose any other form of medical insurance that might cover all Americans, which all other industrialized nations have had for some time, I am reminded of the story which told of a man in a lifeboat who shouted out to someone nearby who was in danger of drowning and crying out for help; "I'm already in the lifeboat, you can swim." In other words, "I have my own medical insurance and I don't give a damn if you have it or not." That kind of attitude, becoming more and more prevalent in this country, is deplorable, shameful and downright immoral.
What is truly despicable and hypocritical is the fact that the Republicans in the Congress, the GOP controlled Supreme Court, all the employees of the bloated Pentagon, and many thousands of other government employees all are covered by excellent medical insurance -- that we taxpayers are funding. We can provide the best of health care for all of them but the GOP leadership, possibly aided and abetted by yet one more upcoming politically motivated decision by the Supreme Court, may be successful in repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.
To a large extent morality and a sense of caring for our fellow citizens has been replaced by amorality, the definition of which is an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or principles. Amoral individuals don't really consider whether something is right or wrong; they just consider it to be irrelevant to what their objectives may be. America has become the home for amoral opportunists who use every means at their disposal to personally profit from this society and its people and give nothing back.