2016 has brought me to my knees. The news has been horrendous enough, but the subsequent fallout is what has broken me. Like many of my fellow citizens, I’m sadden by the state of our country and at the same time I’m puzzled.
I find myself asking, “How did this happen?”
As I survey the landscape, I can’t help but think that Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein, is unfolding before our eyes. We’re Dr. Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with bringing something to life to deal with our pain, yet our grotesque experiment ends up bringing nothing but destruction.
America, we’ve created a monster.
For a while, I thought we were mirroring our leaders, a sort-of trickle down effect. But the more I think about it, our leaders are simply mirroring us. In a culture obsessed with reality television and money, our leaders have become reality show stars who entertain us or modern-day Robin Hoods who rob from the rich to give to the poor.
Our politicians have become masters of exploiting our emotions in exchange for our vote. These political creatures have simply jumped on the bandwagon of blame-filled, hateful discourse, calling to us to pick a side and defend a position.
And we’ve put up with it for far too long.
But how do we stop it?
The Change We Long For
Deep down, I do believe that the American people long for change. We’re a lot better than what’s being represented and we know it. But where we fail is believing that the power to change belongs to a candidate, political party, or government program. We have to begin to understand that the power to change rests in our freedom to choose.
We the people—the American people—must change by choosing to.change.
Change isn’t something that our government provides, it is something that must be birthed from within each of us. Better laws won’t make us responsible, nor will they cause us to show compassion for one another. That, my friends, is on us.
We the people must engage each other differently. Our conversations and our relationships have to change. We must take responsibility. We must vote. We must control the state of our emotions so that blame and hate don’t overtake us. We must turn the channel. We must stop hitting the like button. We must refuse to belittle our neighbor. We have to quit indulging in things that want to kill us.
When that happens, the creature that we have birthed will change as well.
The greatest and most profound freedom in life is that you get to choose. You always get to choose.
And the consequences of choosing emotional fast food has resulted in emotional malnourishment. We have become our own worst creation.
If you remember the end of Mary Shelley’s story, Frankenstein’s monster ends up killing him. I fear the same is true for us if we don’t begin living differently.
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About the author:
Matt Ham is a Christian author, speaker, and radio show host who lives in Wilmington, NC with his wife and four kids. His first
book, Redefine Rich: A New Perspective on the Good Life, is filled with engaging stories that provide a fresh look at wealth. His blog at www.mattham.com sees more than 100,000 visitors a year and challenges readers to change their life by changing their perspective.
A few limited-edition copies of Redefine Rich remain at www.redefinerich.com
To inquire about Matt’s speaking availability, visit www.mattham.com/speaking