Americans understand, intuitively perhaps, that the bonds that create a family are the bonds upon which this incredible nation was built. We are more productive than any other country in the world because we want to provide for our families. We have the strongest military in the world because we want to protect our families. We spend more for medical care than anyone else in the world because we want to keep our families healthy. Everything we do and everything we have ever done as a country we do for our families.
This is the reason that, during an election year, we hear the term “Family Values” tossed around by politicians from both sides of the aisle. You see, politicians are generally lazy and “Family Values” is one of those sweeping terms that encapsulates all of those things that Americans intuitively understand to be important.
But what does “Family Values” mean really? Well, if we break it down to its simplest terms, it means that we ‘value’ families. We understand that the structure of a family and the interconnecting bonds of love that are created within that structure are the most powerful bonds that can exist between people. We understand that it is the strength of those bonds that, like the concrete foundation of a skyscraper, support the entirety of our American culture.
It is, of course, not a single family that supports the weight of our great country. It is the intertwining bonds of every family from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon; from Ka Lae Hawaii to Fairbanks Alaska that holds up one of the greatest nations that the world has ever known.
If we do not value the familial bond of any American family then we do not value families. And if that is the case then we are likely doomed to watch this great country sink under its own weight.
Unfortunately, I see the signs of this already happening with this upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday. It may seem like not a very big deal that stores are deciding to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day and that people, looking to get great deals, will go out shopping. But it is indicative of a troubling trend in our culture.
The trend is that we, the people, are no longer valued as families so much as we are valued as consumers. We, the people, are no longer valued as mothers or as fathers so much as we are valued as employees. And we, the people, are no longer valued as sons or daughters so much as grist for the mill of the country’s economy.
Our economy is tremendously important. For the United States to remain one of the greatest countries the world has ever known, Americans must continue to be some of the most productive people the world has ever known. But if we do not support the bonds of families; if we do not allow families those few days of the year to come together (be it from as far as Portland, Maine or Ka Lae, Hawaii), to feast, to hug, to watch football and yell together drunkenly at a TV, then we do not value families.
Please think about this before jumping in line at Walmart this Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving you can get a great deal on a TV or you can support family values, but you can’t do both.