Joy Sylvester Johnson

I enjoyed the fireworks, the hot dogs and the music. I chose to wear red, white and blue to celebrate our birth as a nation. I remembered the sacrifices of all those who have gone before us with a sense of  sincere gratitude.

I made it a point to pray for my government and all in positions of authority, and for my family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and especially for all those who were serving our country far from home.

But in spite of these activities, I was never under any illusion that my country, The United States of America, was “great.”

I have read enough history to know America is not a great country. It was never a great country.

(Before you start heating the tar and looking for the feathers, allow me to continue.)

I don’t want America to be great because it seems such “greatness” is always at the expense of others–often the poorest of the poor.

I want America to be “good.”

I want America to do the right thing even though the right thing might be the hard thing.

I want America to be a good neighbor.

I want America to be motivated by a conscience that counts the cost of every action–not just in dollars, but  in the quality of life for all–not just a few.

I want America to admit where it has erred and to make amends.

I want America to have integrity and to keep its promises.

I want America to be proactive in helping the very young, the very old and all those with special challenges.

I want America to be the place where all people are free to practice their religions and worship.

I want America to understand that stewardship of the planet has inherent responsibilities and every decision must count not only the present cost, but the cost to those who follow us.

No, I have studied “greatness” from a distance and then up close and personal and found it to be, well…”not so great”.

So I don’t want America to be great–I want America to do better—I want America to be good.

Joy Sylvester-Johnson

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