America - An Idea
We Are Losing

By Jim Moore
In the movie, Gladiator, the young arrogant Caesar of Rome is speaking with his sister in private about the Senators.
"Who are they to lecture me? A bunch of dried up old men!"
Understanding what her brother has in mind, his sister answers,
"Don't even think about it. Rome has always had Senators. They are part of the glory of Rome."
"The glory of Rome? Caesar says, "and what is that? What is Rome?"
She hesitates for a moment. "Rome is an idea," she says. Which obviously Caesar hasn't the foggiest notion what she is talking about. He could have asked her, "And what is an idea?" but I presume that idea never occurred to him.
If I were to ask you the same question: What is an idea?, could you answer that? What would your answer be? Would it be the same as anybody's else's answer? Or would it be different? How different?
But then, again, who cares? You should care. We all should care. And before I finish this article I hope you will see why.
One day, during my years in the advertising business as a writer and producer of commercials, I happened on a little book called "How to get an Idea." It's been so many years ago I don't remember the author's name, but what I do remember is that that title grabbed me. So I read through the little book.
In lucid, straightforward language it broke down the process of "getting an idea" which I been doing, more or less automatically, many times in writing ads and commercials, but had never given a second thought as to how I did it. This little book explained the process.
It consisted of five steps, from the problem itself, to a list of possible solutions, to an examination of each solution, to the relaxed, cogitative period, and then Presto, the idea comes!
Any thinking person goes through this process, consciously or unconsciously, especially those in the creative fields, but I had never read anything, before or since, that explained it so well and so simply.
Furthermore, I have never before felt so strongly the need to call public attention to it, what with the uncomfortable and dangerous position in which we, today's citizens of America, find ourselves.
I speak here not of the war, our massive debt, our sagging economy, our job losses, our education dumb-down, or our healthcare crisis, Heaven knows, these all need resolution.
No, my concern here are the "dark forces" at work---some right here at home-- that are attempting to bring this great nation to its knees by killing the idea that gave it birth.
In my articles, I have written many times that the negative situation we find ourselves in is nothing less than the unawareness of, unconcern for, or unacknowledged fact that we are gradually losing the very qualities that made this nation what it is. We are losing the "idea' of what America is, how the idea is unique, and why we must keep that in mind at all costs.
So for a moment I presumed to put myself in the shoes of our great Founding Fathers; to see this raw, rich land as they saw it; to visualize what they must have been thinking when they wrote the monumental Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.
And this is what I came up with.
Our Founders gave us nothing that we could eat, drink, ride in, or sit on. They had no notion whatsoever that we might take this great land and populate it from coast to coast. They could not possibly see the progress we would make, the inventions we would birth, the products we would create, the humming production lines, or the wealth we would accumulate.
What they gave us instead was something even more incredible. They gave us an IDEA. A notion in their minds of what a nation of freedom, independence, and self-determination might be like, without a king's boot in our face, or a monarchy of generational rulers forcing their tyrannical rules on us and our children.
It was the IDEA of THAT kind of land and life which our Founding Fathers saw in their vision and were willing to give up their fortunes, families, friends, even their lives, to establish for themselves, and for those Americans who would follow them in the centuries to come.
So when I argue--as I often do-to never lose sight of the principles and values that make America the fantastic nation it is, I am talking about one thing, and one thing only.
America, as an IDEA.
If, through all the chaos and turmoil of this sad world we ever forget the sanctity and glory of that IDEA, we are indeed doomed as a nation. And we will have only ourselves to blame.



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