It has only recently become evident that the United States is at the end of its reign. The empire has crumbled. Yes, it is no longer the leader of the free world. The state of the union is damaged, hate and violence is spreading, and civic duty has all but disappeared. Right now, our cultural awareness is under attack, and Americans like myself must choose to either defend it, or redefine it. Together, we should learn to embrace the transition from a dark digital age to an age of rediscovery.
Every generation experiences a turning point. Sometimes it comes in the form of a movement or by the actions of one person with great influence. I like to think of the stories I heard as a kid about how Babe Ruth saved baseball. During the Great Depression, he invigorated and entertained millions of people (many who were fighting thoughts of suicide). Former Brooklyn Dodgers manager, Branch Rickey once said, “He has created an expectation of hero worship on the part of the youth of this country, and it was a most fortunate thing that Ruth kept faith with the boyhood of America because they loved him.”
Sports brought a nation together, but so did the movies. During the 1970s we hit a new lull, and as a reaction to Nixon and the Vietnam war, a new film movement was born — introducing the common filmgoer to ‘cinema’… an exploratory array of new character based narratives that temporarily flooded an antiquated studio system. These new directors proved how much the small stories mattered… daring us to think and stay educated. Going to the theater and learning about Shakespeare became popular, and the idea of expanding our diversity caught on. People began to put their traditional views aside and developed a greater understanding of unconditional love.
These moments in American history all had meaning, as they instilled new perspective based on the climate of the culture they shifted. National identity may be a passing fantasy… an unrealized vision we are yet to establish. It is time to heed the call of rediscovery. If we stay engaged with each other, a more agile and sustainable reality may form.
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