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It's Our Turn: Driving on the road to nowhere

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It's 9 p.m. and getting dark. The road we've been following through the desert is getting narrower and rougher, and our shiny, red convertible is getting all dusty. We haven't seen a sign, house or another road in hours.

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We started the journey with no plan and without thinking things through. The road looked interesting and we'd never been on it before. Not only did we not know where we were going, but we didn't really care at the time. As long as we were having fun, who cares where we'd end up? Besides, when you're going nowhere, any road will get you there.

But now the gas gauge is hovering above empty. It gets cold at night in the desert, but we never thought about bringing a jacket. It's not quite as fun as it was before. There's got to be a gas station up ahead soon...

Our country is like that shiny, new car on the wrong road. On the outside we look impressive: incredible technological advances, big houses, new cars, lots of food, lots of toys, early retirement and medical miracles. However, the gasoline that used to drive our country - moral absolutes, strong families, quality education and personal responsibility - is running dry.

Yet, rather than thinking logically about the future and the consequences of our actions, we tend to just keep driving. When we do recognize a road that we have successfully traveled on in the past, we often ignore it and keep hoping for a new and better way.

Maybe it's time for us to look at where that road is taking us and where we will be in 10 years if we don't turn off.

We've tried a lot of strange, new experiments in the past 50 years. So, how have they been working out for us?

We've thrown out all our traditional ideas of character, moral absolutes, and right and wrong, and replaced them with relative truth and personal preference. Even young children can now be heard saying: "That may be true for you, but not for me," or "Who are you to judge?" More people than ever before in history are incapable of determining right from wrong. Of course, that's logical, considering that we now deny that there even is a right or wrong. How do you think that will work out for us in the future?

We've traded the traditional family and the stability and support it provided for single-parent households, freedom and irresponsibility. Sure, our houses look nice on the outside, but inside they are often empty because everyone is either at work or on their way to yet another activity. Men, relieved of the responsibility of taking care of a family, often refuse to grow up and they become perpetual "boys." If this trend continues, how will that work out for us in the future? Will it lead to greater stability and less poverty?

Our educational system consists of amazing schools, complete with the newest technology and sporting facilities. And yet students still only get half the education that students did 100 years ago in a one-room schoolhouse. Employers lament that if they could only find someone with good character who could write and think, they could teach them the rest. We've thrown out all the proven educational tools and philosophies that produced the great minds of the past and replaced them with new and unproven methods. How is that working out for us?

And then there's the government. Rather than existing to take care of the things people can't provide for themselves, the government is increasingly being called on to provide for nearly every want and need of the people. Yet we call for more and more, without understanding that the government gives nothing away for free - someone has to pay for it. How will that work out for us in the future?

Do we have any idea where we are going? Do we even care?

Sorry if this is all depressing, but it's been an extraordinarily depressing week here in Minnesota.

It's getting dark and we're almost out of gas.

I know, maybe we can redefine the word "gas" to include Coca Cola. I think there's some in the back seat.

Hey, it might work. After all, who are you to judge?

• • •

"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

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