I took my first ever trip to Las Vegas this weekend. If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you got the up close and personal version of the adventure. Sorry not sorry. I had finally decided that YOLO was actually a thing that deserves conscious measure. So, Viva Las Vegas was my mantra for a couple of days. Initially, I was in awe of all the shiny things. And believe me, Vegas has a lot of them. But, I took the whole trip in stride. The night life, the shows, the fashion, the homeless.
Did I just catch you off guard? There’s something about that cluster of somethings that seems out of place. Yes, everything about Las Vegas was a stimulation to me. Even the people sitting on the sidewalks hoping that you are the soul among flashy souls who stops long enough to drop change into their jars.
The signs they held ranged from extreme profanity to “Need food money. Please help.” to “Walk on by, I don’t even care anymore.” I was struck with the thought that the homeless community that I have so naively compartmentalized all of my life is very complex.
The one that continues to keep me up at night was a guy close to my age, burdened by a very clear and residual tick on one side of his face. To his left sat a very loyal and overweight canine companion. To the right was his military rucksack and a very graphic photo of him, wounded in combat.
If you know my articles, my upbringing, or my passions you probably know that the above scenario doesn’t set well with me. Sure, he possibly could have made better choices to not end up on a boardwalk in Las Vegas asking for money. But, the words “homeless” and “veteran” should not coexist together in a sentence. That should not even be a consideration for the greatest country in the world. So that thought marinated for a while, as I came home to unpack and catch up on the hot mess of the evening news. It feels like a coagulation of a lot of things, but my epiphany was this: Rome is falling.
We live in the greatest country in the world. We live in “Rome”, if you will. And no, I am not referring to the masses of people I encountered partying it up at Caesar’s Palace. Of course this is not 400 something AD, and we are not rolling around in chariots and togas either. Rather, it’s 2016 and we are currently in the midst of construing our own series of maladies and misfortunes that could very well lead to our demise. Social media is an interactive Colosseum where many sit back and watch the mayhem or try their hand at armchair quarterback.
We are all at risk of losing the greatness that embodies everything our democracy stands for, because so many people are so darned determined to be right. I don’t like party affiliations, to be blunt. I think it causes more separation than it does unity, especially in this current whirlwind of election drama. I try my hardest in every situation to just seek the truth. I want to know what is right and just and fair. This is very hard to find these days.
We are coming up on an election that is going to go down in history as one of the ugliest, and I’m gravely concerned by the rhetoric and the vitriol that is spewing out from all sides. There are two very complex and multifaceted sides existing on the same treasured coin. And what’s most frustrating for truth seekers like myself is that this journey is a path that dead ends. There is no say all end all here. There is no one person I can personally look to and think justice is fully and completely served. So as a person who doesn’t entertain speeches that tear the other man down, it feels like Rome is falling.
I’m an American citizen who is tired of the ‘tit for tat’ game. I think I speak for a lot of American citizens, actually. I hope so, anyway. My glass-half-full soul still believes that this world is mostly good. There are, unfortunately, a lot of fundamentally good people caught up in watching the ball go from one side of the court to the other. If this continues up until Election Day, my head may spin off.
So, here’s the big secret that should probably be on a billboard. Are you ready for this? Sit down. The turning point, or potentially tipping point, for this country will not be the outcome of the election. Rome still technically existed after its fall, too. No, the turning point for this country, in my opinion, will be our reaction to it. Think about that for a moment.
Regardless of who wins, we are still required to get up every morning and move forward. We can choose to continue teaching our children that this is a safe and opportunistic place or we can choose to get really angry at the outcome and become the bitter, ugly embodiment that every terrorist organization salivates to prey upon. The choice is ours.
Just in case your person doesn’t win this November, you don’t get a free pass to give up on life or hate everyone and everything. If anything, that should be your shining moment to teach your children about American resilience. That’s your moment to teach the greatest lesson of all: that although we may not always agree, we can still sit together as friends at the table because there is much more to be done.
This election is not about who sits as POTUS. It’s about all of us. And we cannot let Rome fall.