I propose we make 2015 the year of Restored Pride. It’s going to be a challenge, because there are so many people who’ve lost their pride in America. They’ve abandoned the values our founders used to build the freedoms and citizen-directed government we enjoy.
The situation is compounded by others who are new to our country. They came for the freedoms, but are less interested in adapting to America now that they’re here. But it’s understandable. They’re disinterested in adjusting to the nation’s ways because they meet naturally born Americans who are cold, inconsiderate, and not very welcoming. They want to enjoy the freedoms, but ignore the lifestyle that turns people into ungrateful grumps.
So, where do we start?
When skilled leaders manage projects that seem overwhelming, the smart ones look for quick wins. They look for the low-hanging fruit that if picked would give their followers a sense of accomplishment. With a few quick wins, everyone sees that the campaign is worth the effort. The small steps and realistic goals create big project success.
Here is what I recommend for a first step. Let’s begin with an old theme that worked in previous decades. Let’s restore pride in the beauty of our natural resources. The theme I remember working in the 1960s and 1970s was Keep America Beautiful, the title of a not-for-profit organization supported by several leading private-industry companies.
I’m not seeing much effort in keeping America beautiful in recent years, although I’m sure the organization is still doing what it can to promote the concept. However, it’s an easy one to regain. It’s one that each citizen can do easily.
And if you have doubts about my concern, here is an example that triggered my thoughts. A woman in downtown Baltimore was recently spotted unwrapping food during a midday outing. She walked past a trashcan, but instead of depositing her wrapper in the can, she threw it to the street. Why?
When I heard the story from an upset wife, I was instantly angry, too. It was a blatant display of disrespect for the city and all of us as members of the community.
Already I had been provoked when walking my dogs to an Anne Arundel County park, which I do frequently. We cross a bridge over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The road has become an unauthorized dumping ground for unwanted mattresses, furniture, fast-food restaurant sacks, alcohol bottles and cans, and a few unmentionables. The dogs and I see deer, fox, badgers, squirrels, rabbits, and a surprising variety of birds as we walk past the disgusting display of human trash. The creatures’ natural homes are littered to the point that their sources of food and shelter cannot grow. I’m ashamed.
We can stop these needless actions and restore beauty to their natural habitat and our city streets, the places that should make Americans extremely prideful; special places that provide us all resources and comforts that few nations can claim.
We are envied around the world, but then despised when people of other nations see how poorly we treat what we have. Simple actions to dispose of our debris through proper actions and to pick up after those who need more time to understand how damaging their neglect can be are steps in the right direction.
Keeping America beautiful is a low-hanging fruit in the campaign to restore our nation’s pride. Let’s start there. Let’s start now. Let’s all keep America more beautiful. It’s a very satisfying step toward a worthwhile goal. Pride.