The second verse in our treasured song, “America the Beautiful,” reminds us of our noble history and beckons us to reawakening the nation:
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
This verse is an inspiring reminder of our destiny, forged by history, demanding that we rise from contemporary challenges to the ideals that America stands for.
America’s Cauldron of Corruption
Just a few days ago, America was once again blistered by another corruption scandal exemplifying our crisis of character.
Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, once one of the state’s most powerful politicians, was convicted of charges involving devious schemes to earn $5 million illegally and then lying about it.
Silver now faces decades in prison after being convicted of all charges: honest-services fraud, extortion, and money laundering.
Corruption throughout every level of American politics is business as usual.
America’s cauldron of corruption poses a fundamental assault to our national security and principles of democracy, freedom, and liberty.
Corruption impacts security on our borders as well as in our neighborhoods, the integrity of verdicts in our courts, and all government services.
Aside from Silver’s conviction, additional scandals of public officials, documented on the FBI website include the following:
- Former New York State Senator Thomas W. Libous Sentenced in White Plains Federal Court for Making False Statements to the FBI.
- Two Donna School Board Members Indicted on Bribery and Attempted Extortion Charges.
- Army Captain Pleads Guilty to Gratuities Charge.
- Guilty Plea of Former U.S. Speaker of the House John Dennis Hastert of illegally structuring cash withdrawals in order to evade financial reporting requirements.
America’s Culture of Violence
Tragically, we are continually witnessing violence throughout our workplaces, communities, schools, campuses, and families and there is no end in sight.
Alarmingly, tragedies appear more commonly, but outrage within society is diminishing.
America must wakeup, take action, and stop the carnage.
Recent and notorious tragedies of America’s culture of violence paint an unsettling picture:
Dec. 2, 2015: At least 14 people died in a shooting at a social services center in San Bernardino, California.
Nov. 27: A reprehensible, deadly attack and standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and the killing of three people including a police officer. Nine others were injured.
Oct. 1: A gunman shot and killed eight fellow students and a teacher at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
June 18: A suspected white supremacist kills nine members at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
May 23, 2014: A killer follows through on his meticulously planned attack near the UC Santa Barbara campus that leaves six dead and seven wounded.
Sept. 16, 2013: A former Navy enlisted man shoots and kills 12 people in the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard.
Dec. 14, 2012: A 20-year-old kills 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adult teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
America must have its eyes wide open and resolve to put the lessons learned from these horrific acts into action. Complacency, incompetence, and apathy cannot be excuses for failing to remedy America’s culture of violence.
The brokenhearted families of those gone too soon, especially the children and parents of the victims, demand America’s commitment to violence prevention.
America’s Police–Community Relations Crisis
The recent charges against a Chicago police officer for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald were made more difficult for the city to accept because of the way city officials delayed the indictment for a full year. The incident has once again cast the criticality of accountability, transparency, and integrity into the police–community spotlight.
As detailed in my article titled “Police–Community Crisis: Rise to the Occasion” for the May 29, 2015, edition of the Epoch Times, “over 900,000 dedicated law enforcement officials perform acts of respect, courtesy, and bravery each day throughout America, and these dedicated professionals deserve honor. Yet, there are issues emerging that crystalize the need for necessary police reforms.”
In the article, I further argued, “This is a defining moment for police reform in America and the training of ethical protectors.”
America, the eyes of the world are upon us. The clarion call for leadership, vigilance, and collaboration as our heartbeat will resuscitate the nation.
America the Beautiful will rise from the cauldron of corruption, culture of violence, and police–community crisis through a renewal, when we reignite the principles of character, courage, and community.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.