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What “The Soul of America” Means to Me
[text of video]
There is only one America.
No Democratic rivers,
No Republican mountains,
Just this great land
And all that’s possible on it
With a fresh start.
Tears we can find
Futures we can shape
Work to reward
Dignity to protect.
There is so much we can do
If we choose to take on problems
And not each other
And choose a President
Who brings out our best.
Joe Biden doesn’t need
Everyone in this country
To always agree.
Just to agree
We all love this country.
And go from there…
WE LOVE THIS COUNTRY!!!!!
Debra + Larry
Since Joe Biden first announced his candidacy for President, he has been saying that he is fighting for “the soul of America.”
Even then I wanted to know what he meant by that, so I searched online to see how he defined “the soul of America.” I found nothing from him, but did find a best-selling book called The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.
I read the entire book and have been wanting to write a post with my comments on the subject, but the time didn’t seem right.
And now, yesterday morning, when I saw the new Biden-Harris ad (above) I knew it was time.
The New York Times thought it was time too. When I searched on the term again, I saw that just a few days ago they published an entire article on the subject Biden and Trump Say They’re Fighting for America’s ‘Soul.’ What Does That Mean?
The New York Times article begins by noting that Joe Biden started the call for the soul of America and the Trump campaign picked up on it, claiming to be fighting for the soul of America too.
“This election,” says the New York Times, ”has become a referendum on the soul of the nation...voting has now become a reflection of one’s individual morality — and that the outcome hinges in part on spiritual and philosophical questions that transcend politics: What, exactly, is the soul of the nation? What is the state of it? And what would it mean to save it?”
My questions exactly.
What Is the Soul of the Nation?
The New York Times article gives the positions of each candidate with regard to soul:
President Trump has positioned himself as the defender of a threatened Christian America under siege. “In America, we don’t turn to government to restore our souls, we put our faith in Almighty God,” he said at the Republican National Convention. Franklin Graham, one of his evangelical supporters, wrote last year that this age is “a battle for the soul of the nation,” as the original “moral and spiritual framework, which has held our nation together for 243 years, is now unraveling.”
[Mr. Biden’s] campaign message has been one of broader morality, versus specific policy or ideology. When Mr. Biden says this is a battle for the soul of the nation, he is not using it religiously but as a synonym for character.
In The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. author Jon Meacham makes the case that America has a soul and that soul keeps pulling our democracy through the difficult times over and over again. Indeed, most of the book tells the stories of our difficult times as a nation and how our American soul brought us through them.
Meacham states that “the war between the ideal and the real, between what’s right and what’s convenient, between the larger good and personal interest is the contest that unfolds in the soul of every American.” Any adherence to American values “can find concrete expression only once individuals in the arena choose to side with the angels. That decision must come from the soul….Our fate is contingent upon which element—that of hope or that of fear—emerges triumphant.”
Meacham describes the soul as “the vital center, the core, the heart, the essence of life.” He quotes Socrates, “What is it that, present in a body that makes it living? A soul."
In the book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible, the soul is life itself. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Soul is not about religion or worship. It is the natural spirituality that makes each of us alive and is directly connected to the universal spiritual source.
The soul of the nation then is the accumulation of all the individual souls of that nation. Meacham writes, "What counts is not just the character of the individual at the top, but the character of the country–it's inclinations and its aspirations, its customs and its thought, its attachments to the familiar and its openness to the new."
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "The form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population that permits it." I agree with this. For myself, I have been permitting others to make decisions about my America all my life. I've been permitting the government and enabling it by not dissenting. It has taken me 45 adult years to learn that I can have a voice in what my country is created to be.
Our Founders created a country where we, the people, get to create our own country, according to our own ideas, and create it ourselves.
I remember when I visited Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, there was a small note sitting on a table, I think, which said that Jefferson created public schools to educate the populace so they could be informed citizens. Public school is hardly that today, but that was the intent in the beginning.
What Is the State of the Soul of the Nation?
I would say the state of the Soul of America is not in a good condition.
Soul has some very specific functions. It is that which makes us alive. It is the source of love, creativity, and everything good. It compells us to act with conscience. It draws us together in cooperation. It ever guides us to our highest good and provides many other qualities in our human nature that, if followed, result in the perpetuation of all Life.
Soul is as soul does. The more we know about soul and then live as soul, the more soul will dominate in our lives, in our families, in our communities, in business, and in our nation.
Soul naturally exists within each individual human. Regardless of color, race, gender, age, or creed, we all are—at our core—individual souls with the same potential, the same set of characteristics and abilities. And to the extent that we do not allow others to hamper our natural freedom, we all have the same opportunity to develop our own soul possibilities.
Every single thing that happens in life begins in the soul, and soul choices are always good. What leads us astray is not the soul, but other thoughts and fears and decisions we’ve made from experience that lead us away from the soul direction.
I’m not surprised current events are occurring in our nation right now because it is a reflection of our materialistic industrial society, where the awareness of the existence of the human soul/spirit and its characteristics and abilities is virtually unknown.
Over and over spiritual texts across time and around the world describe the existence of the soul and it’s qualities, yet in our modern industrialized world our lives are governed by the economy and the gross national product rather than the wisdom of the soul.
What we need in America is restoration of the human soul and its ability to be self-determined. Each of us need to become aware of our own soul and reclaim its potential for ourselves. Then we can have the freedom to choose to create a soul-driven democracy.
Earlier in the race for our next President, Marianne Williamson announced her candidacy for President, also based on soul. She has been lecturing and writing about spirituality since 1983. Many of her books have been bestsellers and they have been translated into more than twenty languages.
She wrote her first book about government, Healing the Soul of America more than two decades ago. I have the 20th anniversary edition that was published in 2017. On the back cover she wrote “When this book was first published in 1997, I wrote that there was a storm ahead, or an awakening ahead. Alas, the storm is upon us. But even now in the midst of our national turmoil, there is an awakening, as well. People are remembering the radicalism of the American experiment, the drama and the power of democracy as well as its fragility. It cannot long survive in the absence of population awakened to our responsibility to vigilantly protect it. Americans were sleeping but now we’re waking. A giant has been aroused that was too long napping.
This book was followed in 2019 by A Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution. On the back cover of this book she wrote, “Humanity has come to a fork in the road. There is a way marked Love and there is a way marked Fear, each path leading to more of the same…in our finest hours, America has stood for what humanity at our best aspires to be…today, in our times, it is ours to decide our path as we move forward. Lady Liberty’s torch is in our hand, but only we can determine whether it burns within our hearts."
What Would it Mean to Save the Soul of America?”
The basic tenants of our democracy come from the souls of our founding fathers. They are about each individual having the right to sustain their own physical life, having the individual liberty to make their own choices and to pursue their own happiness. These are characteristics of soul.
To save the soul of America, Americans need to become aware of their own souls and live from soul values. Our leaders need to lead with soul values. Decisions need to be made from soul values.
This would result in a nation based in the values of our Founders. Each individual American would take responsibility for his or her own life and the lives of their loved ones. They would create their own job security by entrepreneurial business or contributing to such a great extent to the company they work for that their job would be secure. We would all live and work in ways that make the environment thrive. There would be peace between us as citizens and peace between our country and other countries of the world. The well-being of each citizen would be important to each other citizen.
The soul of America is not in the President, it is in us.
The President can lead, but he or she cannot force us to do anything. We always have the option to disagree and make our own decisions. America will fall or become greater as the result of what each one of us does in our own personal lives every day, and who we choose to run our local, state, and federal governments.
Things may be difficult today, but all is not lost—soul is eternal and is always pushing toward life and love and happiness.
It is always darkest before the dawn. And there is a new dawn occurring in our country.
We can see it in the voter turnout—as of this morning more than 45 million Americans have already voted for our next President.
We can see it in the willingness of these voters to stand in line all day if necessary to cast their ballots.
We can see it in the desire of Americans to help each other and get back to work and heal from the pandemic.
Here on the our Lifely blog, we are soul-driven. We will be publishing more about how we all can restore American values and continue to speak from our soul viewpoint.
Chaos always comes before a breakthrough. We have experienced this many times in our own lives. In fact, sometimes Larry has to remind me that the worse things are, the better things will be on the other side—after we get through the confusion. To date, we have always gotten through it. Because we always choose life and love. And we are choosing that for our nation too.