Some years ago, several men sat around a table together, united for a common purpose. They met in the dark of night, but were not there for devious purposes. They came from many places, far and wide, leaving behind their family and friends. They traveled from store fronts down by the ocean, from virgin fields that stretched as far as the eye could see, from cities just beginning to thrive to determine the fate of more than just themselves. They didn’t gather because of money. They didn’t get paid a cent to sit at that table. No, their motivation came from much deeper, from within. From a sense of what was right not only for them but for their neighbors as well. They came because they saw a future their children could have, not necessarily one which they would live.
They had a sense of honor and integrity and a love for God that bound them together. And they made decisions that directed the course of America for two centuries. Those men sat down and signed the Declaration of Independence.

Over the years, the men that have followed have made different deci- sions, some good, some not so good. But America is where she is this day, a stumbling giant, burdened with her own ailments, overstretched or untapped depending upon the speaker, because of the decisions of the men and women who inhabit her.

If we as a nation, or as a people, ever want to rise up to new levels of greatness (whether it be as a nation in our world, or as a nation intent on conquering the stars, or as a beacon of prosperity and hope), then there must be better decisions. Often, better decisions begin with a moral fiber that that people adhere to. Morality is something that governs men and women’s actions. It gives them a standard to measure themselves by, a standard to light their way and it draws upon more than just the lusts of the flesh. It draws upon the spirit of a man.

But there must also be sacrifice. Greatness is never achieved through selfishness. In any marriage that lasts and is good and loving, there has been sacrifice along the way. I think many in this nation have forgotten this. I am not talking just a sacrifice of blood, but a sacrifice of selfish desires.

If we want to avert crisis or restore glory, we must first be willing to stand for something more than cold hard cash and the exaltation of ourselves. We must stand with integrity as a people who draw a line in the sand about what is right and what is wrong and stick to it. And we must stand because we are hungry for more than just ourselves.

© Seth Crossman

(originally printed in OG’s Speculative Fiction, Issue 25)