When we were great, we believed that we were blessed by God. Or rather, the universal idea of God. We were blessed by God because we were a nation of different people from different places with different religions who somehow got along. And we did more than coexist; we flourished because of our differences. An intricate fabric where every thread had significant meaning and purpose. A place where we were all important contributors.

We were great because we adhered to laws based on the concepts of fairness and equality. Laws that protected those among us who needed protection. Aided those who needed aid. We were great because of a system which recognized that as humans, we had flaws when it came to the idea of power. And that the only way to avoid the temptation of absolutism was to actually use use our differences as a means of checks and balances. No, we weren’t perfect. Far from it. But we were the envy of the free world. A beacon of hope for the human experience. A place where dreams could come true.

But somewhere along the line, something happened. We stopped seeing our differences as our strength. Instead, they became bitter points of contention that powerful special interests (i.e. politicians and the media) used against us.

Suddenly, the laws that had long protected us from ourselves were tweaked to protect the rich and powerful–driving Americans even further apart. Amidst dogmatic rhetoric, we began to care less about our nation as a whole and more about specific parts. Specific ideas. We began to gravitate to the idea of exclusion rather than inclusion. We started to believe that the only way this country could be great again was if one ideology were in control. And we fought hard to justify and defend our ideologies. We adopted an us vs. them mentality and stood nose-to-nose with each other. Our brothers became our enemies. Winning at any cost became our priority as we let fear of non-conformity overrun the respect we once had for each other.

Things are different now. We’re just too different. What we need today is strict conformity. The founding fathers got it wrong. But hey, they had a good run.

We’re a stubborn lot, Americans. Proud, to be sure. But pride alone has its drawbacks. In fact, pride is a sin. The mack daddy sin, and the one directly associated with Lucifer–if you believe the bible. No, because of our stubbornness, fear, and pride, we haven’t moved the needle in the right direction for this country in decades. Maybe it’s moved in the right direction for our checkbook. Or maybe it hasn’t. But a great nation is more than just a healthy economy.

I wish I had a solution to throw out there. But I don’t. I don’t know if we’ll ever be as great as we once were. And no, no man or woman sitting in the Oval Office is going to change our course. Changing this nation and putting it back on a righteous path requires that we put aside our ignorant pride and embrace each other for our differences as a way to once again realize just how powerful we really are. Please don’t let the politicians tell you anything different. Don’t let them drive us further apart. Don’t believe their ads.

No matter how badly you want your side to win in politics,  just remember that ‘one ideology to rule them all’ isn’t even remotely possible in this country.

We’re too different. And that’s a good thing.


Jim Mitchem – and yes I know that this country is for everyone, not just people who believe in the idea of a God. Settle down.

The Problem with Perfection

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.