America’s Vulnerability Problem

We always tout and admire the leaders who admit when they were wrong; those who admit they made a mistake and are seeking to learn from it, improve from it, and make sure they make better decisions in the future. Of course we all want infallible teachers, coaches, bosses, politicians, etc., who are wiser than us so that they won’t make the mistakes that we make ourselves every day. We admire super heroes, all-star athletes, former presidents — the top of the top in every field, precisely because they make fewer mistakes than anyone else around them and have some kind of bullet-proof quality about them. Yet it is frivolous and ignorant to assume they reached the pinnacle without tripping and stumbling during their hike upwards. Everyone makes mistakes and no human is perfect. Yet we forget that more than ever these days.

We have problems of epic proportions facing our country right now, and to see them as anything but problems of leadership is a farce.

We have dealt with Covid-19 worse than any other developed country in the world by a long shot, both in cases and deaths, neither of which seem to be declining like other countries have managed.

We have come to a head of the BLM movement and arguments for social justice because a video finally damned police officers’ treatment of an unarmed black man past the point to where a jury could set him free on technicalities and semantics. A problem that has been pervasive in our country for decades, lying atop a mountain of racial injustice that has poisoned America since its inception.

In response to the latter, we see protests, riots, and demonstrations that call out our leadership for change. In the process, we’ve seen many confederate monuments taken down, confederate flags taken away from NASCAR races and the Mississippi state flag, and the call for institutions to recognize their scarred pasts.

Yet we have a president and a government at large that: does not wear face masks, fudges or misrepresents statistics, moves forward without planning, turns the other cheek to white nationalists and acts that perpetuate racial discrimination and segregation, more determinedly pursues those who would deface monuments than those who have abused their power to silence black lives, and touts the good ol’ days over all else in a consternating obliviousness to the current moment and social progress.

We were, and plenty of us still are, wrong about Covid-19 and its danger.

We have been wrong about providing equal opportunities to minorities for social and economic advancement for centuries.

We are still wrong in what we allow some police officers to get away with.

Why can’t our leaders admit that?

Why can’t we admit as a country that we have been complicit in continuing racial disparities that disadvantage blacks and latinos while allowing whites to retain their dominant position in every arena in life? Myself included.

“We invoke the words of Jefferson and Lincoln because they say something about our legacy and our traditions. We do this because we recognize our links to the past — at least when they flatter us. But black history does not flatter American democracy; it chastens it.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates

We are not, and will never be a perfect country. We can be patriotic and be proud of being American while still calling for change and justice for those who have been denied it for so long. Patriotism is not blind obedience to a country, just as we should not provide blind obedience to political parties. One side touts “fake news” and “liberal sheep” while the other touts “Trumpers” and “deplorables.” Are we so one-dimensional in our judgment of others? Can we not have conversations where we challenge others’ beliefs while simultaneously challenging our own?

Vulnerability is an important aspect of being human. It’s hard to admit that we don’t know the answers, that we don’t know what to do, and that we may have been wrong in the past. Yet we learn much more from our failures than our successes. When the commander-in-chief refuses to admit mistakes, for anything he’s ever done, that trickles down to those who follow him, and that’s a problem. If we do not admit our mistakes, then we will never be able to move forward, and personally I do not want to be stuck in the tumultuous year of 2020 forever.

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Basketball Coach. Youngest of Five. Writer when I feel up to it.

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Shane Loeffler

Shane Loeffler

Basketball Coach. Youngest of Five. Writer when I feel up to it.

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