For those old-school comic book fans, and actually for many who are not, the phrase “truth, justice, and the American way” immediately conjure up images of Superman. He was heralded through the 40s and 50s as the champion for those virtues, and even so recently as in 1978 in the Superman movie, Superman himself claimed as much. It seems as though, since then, those are not virtues worth fighting for anymore.
Truth used to mean one thing – that which is not false. It was easy enough to stand for the truth under those circumstances, and what was true for one was true for all. Now, I’m not talking about people’s opinions. I’m talking about solid, provable truth. But now, there are people who say there’s no such thing as absolute truth. What they don’t seem to realize is that, by making that statement, they are stating what they believe to be an absolute truth, which would put their statement in direct contradiction to itself.
Justice – that seems to be another thing that’s gone by the wayside. By definition, justice is based on moral and/or legal grounds. Someone who acts immorally, or against the law, is supposed to reap the consequences of his or her actions. But nowadays, there is no sense of moral responsibility. There’s always someone else who is to blame for the things we do, thus we should not be held responsible, and we should not have to face justice for things that are not our fault. And why is this? Well, without truth, there can be no justice, because if something you believe is morally wrong is not something someone else thinks is, why should they be judged based on your “truth”? With this mindset, how can there be justice?
And finally, the American Way. It seems people are almost ashamed to be American in this day and age. America has gotten a bad rap, and most other countries consider us to be verging on evil. But here’s the thing. Which country is it that still has vast numbers of people hoping to get in and make something of themselves? How many people still believe in the American dream, that allows anyone from anywhere to become almost anything he or she wants to be? What other country allows such great freedom to speak how you like, to be what you want, and to do what you wish? I’ve heard of several Hollywood types who complain about George W. Bush and who swore they would leave the country if he got elected. They didn’t go anywhere. Why? Because they know that, even on our worst day, we are still one of the best countries to live in. And there is nothing wrong with taking pride in being an American. Yes, America is not perfect and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but the American ideal is worth fighting for, an ideal so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That should not just be the American way, but the way of the world, and well worth defending.