When young children are frightened, they draw inwards. They are less open to people, ideas, and, therefore, learning. If a child was to grow up to live his or her entire life in some type of fear or mistrust, it is obvious that they would be "less complete" as adults. However, as we mature, we (at least most of us) begin to open and experience life without (or with less) fear, leading to a fuller, more productive existence. We learn more. We do more. We live more.
So it is with the government.
I think that we may see government as having a personality. That personality is shaped by the people who form it. They set the pace. That is a good thing - that's (supposedly) why these folks got elected in the first place. And, so is the case with the Trump administration. To their credit, they are creating the society that they promised they would. To simplify, at least in my mind, what that society represents is embodied in the President's America First platform.
On the surface, what's wrong with taking care of one's own first, right? But, when you look at it more deeply as a philosophy, you see how short term the thinking is. It's mostly based on fear, not strength. Like a frightened child, the Country is being drawn inwards. We are becoming less open to people, ideas, and, therefore learning (see paragraph 1, sentence 2). This may provide temporary comfort but it also stifles positive growth. Unfortunately, it seems that virtually every action by the government, be it Executive or Legislative, seems to be taking us in that direction. And, for better or worse, the world is taking notice.
There is a wonderfully obscure movie called Stay Hungry that stars Jeff Bridges and a very young Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bridges plays the rebellious heir to a Southern families dynasty and is fascinated by the sub-culture of bodybuilding. It is within this environment that he meets Arnold. Bridges is amazed by the intensity of Schwarzenegger's workouts and tells him so. Arnold responds by saying:
well, you can't grow without burning!
So, it is with America - you can't grow without burning.
To achieve the greatest results we have to do difficult things with open minds and hearts. To draw inwards is to live in fear and that has NEVER been the American way! And, that's another thing that I don't quite understand. The America that I know has always been fearless, open, protective of not only its own people and our best interests, but those of the world at large, too. THIS is leading. But, there is always an element of risk in leading. And, there always will be. We have always been willing to take that risk. So, why do the people who profess their tenacity about America and American values fail to see the weakness in the current approach of isolationism?
Bold people, bold nations do not live in fear. They do not cower. They do not look for excuses. They keep open minds and hearts. And, they lead.