The United States used to be the light of the world. That bright light allowed us to see way down the road of freedom and democracy.
Sadly, this bright light of right direction has gone dim and could go out. It’s like we misplaced our map and our moral compass and can’t find them because there’s not enough light.
We used to travel at a safe speed, too, avoiding sharp turns, bumps and obstacles in the road. Today, we’re speeding down the lost highway, and there is real danger ahead. We may or may not have time to change course.
Once, the U.S. was the envy of other nations of the world. Most countries looked to us to lead the way and to show everyone the right course.
Somehow, though, we ran over our own compass, smashing it into pieces, and tossed our map of the way out the car window. Our bright headlights are now dim. And like most folks traveling in the dark, we can quickly get off course.
That’s where we are today, traveling to this unknown place with no map and no markers to guide us. No source to point to where we’re heading or how the journey may end. Traveling down this dark, unknown road is scary, both for our nation and for us.
Where did all this darkness come from? Where is it taking us? Do we really want to go there? It’s like drivers at the wheel who ignore all the traffic signals and the rules of the road.
Do we really want the Proud Boys and the other extreme-right, neo-Nazi groups to be our drivers or passengers? Do we want these renegades giving us direction? We allowed radical groups like the KKK to guide us in the past, and we all know where that led.
This road of fear, hate and violence today is tearing deep into America’s spirit. At this juncture, we need to make sure we keep psychotic dictators and rulers from taking hold of the steering wheel. Where they will take us is definitely where we do not wish to go.
Our country used to be safely moored by responsible, progressive leaders who followed the law and kept the order. Now, we have leaders who make up their own rules and create their own disorder.
Our political commercials on TV are a good example of where we are on the lost highway. Campaign rallies now resemble vigilante mobs. Warring cable news channels feed us our political stew each day, and with each spoonful comes heartburn and upset tummies.
Our state and national politics, sad to say, are way out of bounds. Unprincipled power grabs have replaced true leadership. Gossip and disinformation have completely replaced truth and accuracy.
Our nation is now a house divided. No one seems to want to get along to help ensure a safe and responsible future. Our United States is fast becoming 50 separate states going in every direction and doing their own thing.
Our sacred Constitution that unites us seems to have gotten blown out the car window, too, at the first sharp turn. With all that’s going on, there is real fear and unrest on the journey, because there are too many unknowns to encounter and overcome.
We don’t know if we’re on a slow two-lane or a fast four-lane. We don’t even know what kind of vehicle we’re driving. All we know is that it’s recklessly barreling down the road in no direction full steam ahead.
Lincoln said it best: a house divided against itself cannot stand. So, a road unknown also presents the same problem. Instead of traveling very slowly, finding our way, we’ve pressed the pedal to the metal. Like Mr. Toad’s wild ride, we’re going in every direction except straight ahead.
Are we roaring toward a place of hate, or a place of peace? This road divided may not come back together. It may keep going in different directions until we run out of road and smash into the trees or go off a cliff.
And, are we still traveling in light? Perhaps not. The journey is dark, and we have no real clue of how and where this road may end. Politically, there is too much disinformation and division for us to trust the direction we’re going in.
Some say we’ve been down this road before in American history — and survived. But this one seems so different. The daily grind of political commercials on TV with twisted comments and deceptive promises seems to lead us deeper into the darkness, as our National Anthem fades in and out on the car radio.
Do we really wish to be divided over something as ridiculous as political beliefs? Let’s hope and pray that the road we’re on comes back together somewhere ahead. If not, we may have to journey forward on foot, one firm step at a time, just as our ancestors did who founded this great nation.
Ralph Morris is a retired newspaperman who lives near Auburn. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.