And what kind of nation do we want America to become? And how can we best use the resources and materials that we still have left to us after having had our treasury, economy and morality systematically looted over the past five years?
These are questions that Americans need to start asking -- and soon.
As a country, we are down but not out. Like the courageous victims of Hurricane Katrina, we still have hope that there will be a bright future ahead of us somehow.
In Victor Frankl's book, "Man's Search for Meaning," he stated, "No one has the right to do wrong." Not even Christian, Muslim or Jewish fundamentalists. He also said that his experiences in concentration camps taught him that human beings cannot live without hope -- and that we are as capable of performing acts of great goodness as we are of performing acts of great evil.
Frankl also stated that he could tell when camp inmates had given up on living because they stopped trying to survive and started living only for the pleasure of the moment. "When someone started smoking his cigarettes instead of trading them for food, we knew that within 48 hours that person would be dead."
John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country."
The Dalai Lama said, "If you view the whole world as a body, destruction of your neighbors takes on a whole new reality." It's time to put an end to war. "Stability and unity cannot be created by force."
Cherokee chief Wilma Mankiller said, "It's hard to see the future with tears in your eyes."
But we MUST see our future. And we must see it honestly and clearly. We can't afford to mess up any more or fall for any more con-men or lose our way again. And we must use the best minds of our generation to re-invent our future -- if America is to survive. There is too much at stake to do otherwise.
PS: Happy Thanksgiving. Mine is gonna be a little weird this year. My son Joe is somewhere in the Chilean Andes filming a documentary. Daughter Lorraine is off doing things that involve TV commercials and won't be around. Daughter Ruby isn't speaking to me any more -- her exact last words to me were, "Glad to know that you are still a manipulating, backhanded b*tch" -- so I guess that eliminates spending Thanksgiving with the grandchild. (Hell, if families can't get along, how can we expect nations to get along? Which reminds me that I am no longer speaking to my sister Ann either -- after she refused to sign the papers that allowed me to bury my father until she had seen how much he had left her in his will. I swear! We had to fax her the will from the cemetery.)
Do we Americans still feel that way about America? That we would want to spend time with ourselves? Probably not. Would YOU like to hang out with a known bully and torturer who steals lunch money from children? No.
But I digress. Back to Thanksgiving. Since life's winners are the ones who do the most good deeds, maybe I'll cook up a turkey (with my infamous brown rice/walnut/butter/sage/apple stuffing), go out and share my turkey with some homeless people and come out a winner after all.