Like most of America, we are getting inundated here with political ad after political ad. Seemingly nice people who are accusing each other of running this country into the ground. Republicans blame Democrats, Democrats blame Republicans, and some just go ahead and blame everyone. Some claim the problem is that our President is a pinko commie socialist of unknown parental lineage. Others claim it’s that terrorists lurk behind every shadow, just waiting to steal our way of life away. Still more claim that the government has no right to collect taxes, that it invades on peoples right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that in turn, has ruined us. (Why these same people claim it’s up to the government to pass laws on who can love who, or what god you can worship is way beyond my little brain.) Some people claim all this is Bush’s fault. Others claim Clinton started the mess when he made one on a dress. The common theme on all of it though: “It’s someone else’s fault”

I, for one, am sick and tired of that attitude. It’s time for us to stand tall and admit our own failings. Businesses, political parties, common folks like you and me. Start small. Personal accountability. Let’s start a “pay it forward” movement of accountability. If we want government out of our personal lives, we need to behave like grown adults, not 2 year olds. Let’s remove “Not me” from our vocabulary, and instead use “I made a mistake, what can I do to learn from it?” Simple accountability.

Okay, that rant over, you may wonder what the hell is up with the title, “America the Beautiful”. That rant didn’t seem to point out anything beautiful, what’s the gig?

Beth and I went camping early last week. Went to our favorite spot, Lake Chelan State Park, and got our favorite site. Weather on the two days we were there was fantastic. Blue skies during the day and cool clear nights that really brought out the stars. It was beautiful, simply beautiful. It made me realize just how lucky, in many ways, we truly are.

We, all of us, have the honor of residing in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. We have cleaner water than we did 30 years ago. Landfills are getting under control. More people recycle, reuse. People pick up after themselves more. You see more litter control along the highways. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. And all of this started because of one simple idea. Think globally, act locally, be responsible. And it’s making a difference. Responsibility.

I know that we, as a country, have issues. Real problems. Poverty, health care, corruption, unemployment, you name it. I really believe though, that we can clean up these problems, just like we have started to clean up the environmental ones. Small, local steps. Real steps. Picking up the litter instead of just making clucking noises about how awful it is that people litter while walking past; type changes. Politicians becoming what they should be, representatives of the needs of the local people, not the needs of a political party. Voting for what you believe in as a person, not just blindly going along with the crowd. Thinking more about how our choices affect others, and understanding that we should be held accountable for them.

Empathy and accountability. A kick-ass, one-two punch. Use it responsibly.

Gregor

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