10/09/10 — Change: Maybe the normal definition is not really what Americans want

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Change: Maybe the normal definition is not really what Americans want

The newest campaign call these days is still -- change.

Whether it is the Democrats calling for a new paradigm in 2008 or the Republicans advising Americans to call for change once again in 2012, there is a comfort in knowing that if we do not like the direction of our country -- or the decisions of our lawmakers -- change is always an option.

But perhaps in our desire to make a new way and to fix what we think is wrong with our country, we have become too attached to the idea of change as a remedy for what ails us -- and have forgotten that sometimes the best way to gain perspective is to look back a bit.

There has been much clamoring about America "needing to be fixed." Politicians from both parties have used that mantra to attract voters for years.

But perhaps in recent years, it has become a crutch, a link to what we would like to say is progress, a path to a modern view of what the United States is supposed to be.

Maybe in our zeal, we have forgotten that there should always be a core -- a set of principles and ideas that never changes, core values that define who we are as a people and that are universal and eternal. They are not limited to one generation or one place and time. They are what it means to be a citizen of this country and to fulfill the promises made to safeguard the freedoms it provides.

And that is why many people see this election as less about progress and change and more about remembering who we are as a nation and the principles by which we want to live, work and thrive.

So while we might agree that there is work to do in the health care system, we are not ready to scrap the idea of a free market allowing access to care and choices for the patient.

And while we might want to get along a little better with some of our neighbors, we are not willing to sell our souls to do so. We are not willing to negotiate on some things, and we will continue to stand strong to protect our citizens and our allies.

We want to be a nation of its word and responsible in how we manage its power and resources, but we are not willing to give up any of the freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to earn -- and that includes allowing our government to take over our lives and to fundamentally alter the America we know in our hearts we are.

We want to welcome newcomers and to appreciate other viewpoints, but we are not willing to do so at the expense of our own beliefs. We believe there is value in being a citizen of this nation, and we do not want to see that cheapened or disrespected. We want people who come to be part of our country to understand that we will maintain our identity and values -- and if they want to be citizens -- they will need to adjust.

The bottom line is, many Americans feel there is no need for a wholesale change here. They are realizing that the work that needs to be done might include returning to some of those core values, those beliefs that make this country uniquely American.

That might mean looking back and remembering lessons learned so long ago -- and the values that are still a part of who we are today.

So, in the end, it is not about changing anything. It's about finding ourselves and our nation again.

Published in Editorials on October 9, 2010 11:10 PM