The heart of the American idea has always lain open and vulnerable to both the best and worst of this country’s men and women. Our nation’s future, as with its past, depends on how we as persons and as a people let this larger heart beat within our own hearts. And the question is: Do we live to serve ourselves alone, or shall our lives bear witness to something larger?
The American Idea
Scholars, novelists, politicians, artists, and others look ahead to the future of the American idea.
One hundred fifty years ago, it was easier for this country to put its own needs first, middle, and last. But no longer can the world’s most prosperous nation pursue happiness irrespective of a global economy, a planet’s stewardship, and the health of peoples in country after country after country. Our challenge now is to strengthen ourselves as a nation that is inextricably tied to a world of nations.
Going forward, the challenge is for our decisions to bear the mark of understanding that one nation’s heartbeat affects the pulse of every nation. And though the results will never be uniform, and though we will often find our way through trial and error, and though we must learn—and relearn—to proceed with humility, a world’s good must be our common goal.
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