Just before New Year's Day, I sent an e-mail to some of my friends and acquaintances and asked what lessons they've learned in 2010 and what their hopes are for the future. I was expecting to receive a list of resolutions from friends wanting to lose weight and exercise, get out of debt and so on. But instead I received dozens of responses expressing concerns that went much deeper. People vented about government corruption, animal rights, the environment and of course our soldiers at war. Although each person had their own point of reference, three issues were always present: corruption, awareness and accountability.
Responses from our military families were perhaps the most dejected and for very good reasons. Stan White, a Gold Star Father, ended the year 2010 feeling as though our government has failed our troops miserably:
"I have learned that Congress, the VA and the DoD are not concerned about how our soldiers and marines are treated who have PTSD. Our only hope is for the media to continue to spread the word to our military families about the dangers of the drugs that are used to treat PTSD."
There are many who feel that greed has corrupted our nation at its very core. Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide/After the Flag has been Folded, wrote:
"Greed is like fungi growing on stale bread. It penetrates a culture from within, from our pulpits to our boardrooms to the baby's cradle."
Some are concerned about national security, but for different reasons than most people are aware exist. Hunter Glass, a nationally recognized private consultant on security threat groups has a bird's-eye view into a growing gang problem that may prove to be the biggest threat of all:
"Our cities are under siege by criminal gangs and government corruption while thousands of our men and women are fighting to establish peace in other countries." Glass states.
To prove his point that we are indeed fighting an enemy who is already here, he repeated a quote made by the communist leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1956:
"We do not have to invade the United States; we will destroy you from within."
I cannot list all of the responses, but you get the idea.
As we move deeper into 2011, I hope to see at least one of these concerns seriously addressed. However, in order for that to happen, the problems must be openly acknowledged. Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky, and The Dinosaur Hunter, offered a statement of hope that is perhaps the first basic step toward healing and change:
"It is better to confess ignorance than provide it."