While I appreciate Judy Elliott’s column (“We just need someone to get us home”, Feb. 16), I believe she yearns for something that is not attainable and perhaps never has been, She hopes moral authority on the part of our nation’s leaders will restore some social equilibrium and get us “home.”
But “home?” “Home” indicates an idyllic place of peace and justice, where the pieces mesh and everyone enjoys equal voice, place, and power. “Home” conjures the image of an Edenic state where we have been before and to which we aspire to return.
In truth, perhaps we have never really been “home” as a nation. Debates over revolution and slavery marked our beginning and even after a devastating civil war and decades of mutual effort, race relations are still among our greatest dilemmas. I think that women and African Americans would be hard pressed to cite a “home” time to which they long to return.
The realty is that we are an ever-evolving people and nation. The past (“home”) is seductive because we survived the past. The past did not kill us. The future is much more foreboding simply because there are no guarantees, no certainties at all.
So we hold onto our various anchors nd attempt to navigate the high winds and choppy seas of movement and change. Politically, our greatest assets are the Constitution and our fidelity to it. It is a constant against, among other things, popular opinion and the rule of the majority. For many of us, the tenets of our faith sustain us and move us toward that moral integrity for which Ms. Elliott rightly calls.
But there is no future in the past. Politically and morally, we hold onto the constants and challenge the political scientists and churches to do their work. “Home” lies ahead of us, not behind. There is no turning back.
Sam R. Matthews