The darkest days of this nation's history, were seen in the Civil War and in the years after. There was a growing hatred and fear of the Federal Government. There were many who argued then, and still today, that the underlying issues revolved around states rights versus federal overreach. But the "states rights" at issue were about social justice and equality. Thousands of men were convinced to fight for "states rights" who had nothing to gain for the preservation of the right to own slaves. Their only hope was to maintain a status just above the slaves. Somehow, that seemed enough.
This is the eve of a potential second civil war, for similar reasons and with similar overtones. Thousands - millions - are convinced that "others" are not equal, are not worthy, and should not have what "we" deserve. The Federal Government is only useful if it bars them. Otherwise, the states should be permitted to decide for themselves. Issues of social justice and equality be damned. Common decency and working for general social good are completely overlooked. In fact, it's viewed as weak, "socialist", and un-patriotic. Add to this perspective a love of money with the view of escaping just contribution to others as "smart", and we have a treacherous mindset evolving. The United States is becoming a pirate state. You just need to be "smart" enough to take all that you can however you can and those not "smart" enough should be trampled.
If we are no longer great, this is why. Our values are misplaced. What we consider valuable, what we allow to be bought, is killing our national soul. The spirit of our nation - what stood above - is being crushed in the weight of our displaced anger and our misplace values. We need to get our priorities right. That comes down to treating others the way you wish to be treated. It's about setting standards of decency in everything we do, everything we say and how we think. If we cannot, darker days are coming. It's up to you. It's up to me. It's time to change how we're approaching everything.