Murphy Roberts: Make America change again
June 20, 2016
Adapt or die.
The United States of America is the greatest country in the world because it was built on this concept. The United States has never waited on change.
The very nature of the history of the United States has been one that has prioritized progress over difference and has strove to systematically adopt measures to right its wrongs and thereby adapt into a fundamentally stronger nation.
To imply that America is no longer great is predicated on the notion that America is incapable of changing again. It is time to remind ourselves that this is false.
To amend is to change as necessary. An amendment is not static. It inherently implies that it can be changed as history progresses. This was the intent of the Founding Fathers when they adopted the constitution. It is a living document that was designed to evolve alongside the ebbs and flows of American society.
We find ourselves held hostage by the notion that the Second Amendment means the same thing to us as it did the Founding Fathers. As time has progressed, societal values have inherently progressed. Despite the outcry from an angry minority of our populace, the United States was able to abolish slavery, make voting rights universal regardless of gender, and augment the civil liberties of our entire populace regardless of race, gender or creed.
We went to war around the world to fight enemies who adopted tyrannical ideologies that demonized difference, promoting bigotry and homogeneity as the cure for impotence. Through this process, we established a new world order that promoted development through diversity and integration that has been the very foundation of our success as a nation.
And yet, domestically, we remain impotent and in legislative fear of a minority group that believes “the right to bear arms” applies in the same way to the ownership of weapons explicitly designed to kill human beings in rapid succession (“assault” means to attack not defend) as it did when the Founding Fathers drafted the laws when a musket that shot one inaccurate shot every few minutes was the most advanced technology at the time.
The world we live in is perpetually changing. We must have the courage to create laws that act concurrently.
America is the greatest country in the world, because we have defined the international order. Our ideologies transcend state borders, and we have constructed an empire of sorts through cohesion, not coercion.
We are the greatest country in the world, because we have emphasized and cultivated symbiotic and cosmopolitan relationships with the rest of the world based on ideas that transcend cultural, racial or religious cleavages. We are exceptional in our embrace of others, not in our belief that we are somehow different or better than them.
We cannot let ourselves fall victim to leaders who wish to push others away for their differences but continue to construct a network that effectively adapts and helps the rest of the world adapt to the unavoidable and unbridled progression of human history.
The world does not exist in a vacuum. Therefore, our laws should not exist in a vacuum, and they should never be constructed based on fear of what we do not know. That is precisely the inverse of how and why America became and continues to be the greatest country in the world.
America, for all its problems, still has the means to amend itself. It is time for us to realize that change is inevitable and the best way to adapt to such change is by being the ones who initiate it. We must remind ourselves that this is precisely how the United States became the greatest country in the world.
It’s time for us to adapt once again. It’s time to remind America it’s great again.
Middlebury Class of 2017