I was born and grew up in a large conservative Irish Catholic family in Detroit, and had faith in many things, but there were three pillars that I thought were solid and which helped make much of America prosperous and the best country on the planet.
These three pillars for me were: our Constitution, Christianity, and Capitalism.
I fully realize these pillars are personal to me and other folks might have different ones which inform their lives, and mine come from my own upbringing, experiences and belief system.
Though I know there are other successful political, religious and economic models around the world and in history, it was these three Cs that I was most acquainted with and often could lay my hand on in their guiding principles.
Today, that is no more.
The practice of each of these in the 21st century United States have become corrupted, and no longer adhere to the basic tenets and ideals of what made them such a powerful force for good in the last few centuries of history.
In each case, leaders without integrity have used the Constitution, Christianity, and Capitalism to advance their selfish goals, and practice an "ends justify the means" strategy, which have caused many in America to lose faith in these important pillars.
The U.S. Constitution because of partisan politics, leaders who put party and personal gain before country, and an abdication of holding different branches of government accountable through the mechanisms laid out in this historic document, have undermined the ideals contained therein.
Today, we have a GOP Congress which refuses to employ "checks and balances" on the executive branch, and we see the rule of law and justice being discarded without as much as a whimper.
Because of polarized voting patterns, consumption of information in a biased way, gerrymandering, and large quantities of money corrupting political decisions, we no longer have a system of government that reflects the values, hopes, and dreams of a vast majority of America.
This isn’t what our Constitution or the Declaration of Independence intended.
As a Catholic, I have watched a church cover-up abuses, be too consumed about holding power and influence, and become overly attached to material wealth, and this has taken them far afield of the intentions of Jesus Christ.
More broadly, many evangelical Christian pastors have made select use of the Bible in order to push social and political goals that are both judgmental and unloving.
The Gospels main message was for us to love each other, help our neighbors, and care for the most vulnerable and heal divisions and welcome strangers. These "Christian leaders" have used dogma for political purposes, and not only do not advocate for the Gospels primary messages, but support leaders whose daily life is the exact opposite of the Good News.
For many decades, Capitalism helped raised the standard of living of nearly every group, created a robust middle class, increased wealth so that infrastructure systems could be built whether it was roads, bridges, clean water, sewer systems, etc.
Though people became wealthy, the main goal of capitalism was to free up capital so that there could be expansive economic growth and society as a whole would be served, and everyone would receive the gains of free enterprise and more available capital.
This is not the case today.
For the past 40 years, nearly all the gains in wealth have gone to a tiny percentage of Americans, and 90 percent of the country has received no improvement in their economic condition. Infrastructure is no longer being paid for, and corporations are primarily using gains in wealth to serve shareholders and senior executives, not society. And a tax system has been put in place that rewards the richest, and punishes the middle class.
This isn’t capitalism, it's corruption.
For many, the solution to the downfall of the three C pillars of Constitution, Christianity, and Capitalism, is to abandon them completely. They argue that there are inherent problems in each of these and that: we need a new Constitution or a new form of government, that we should abandon religion all together, that capitalism has failed and we should move to socialism.
I wholeheartedly disagree.
We actually need to seriously reform each of these pillars and put in place servant leaders of integrity who will speak and act according to the basics and ideals at the basis of these pillars.
Our Constitution isn’t perfect, but it works very well if we have leaders who will follow it, and put country over party.
Christianity has a beautiful message (as do every faith practiced in America and around the world), we just need to have leaders who understand love is at the core, and caring is the center.
Capitalism has for a long time helped advance the common good, we just need to reform the corruption rampant today and return to what capitalism was supposed to be.
Yes, I am a constitutionalist, a Christian, and a capitalist, but the leaders, pundits, and players who seem to constantly use those labels today are not practicing any of those pillars with integrity or with the ideals they were set up to be followed.
I say let’s return to the basics, and start with leaders who understand how each has been corrupted and who seek to return them to the cherished ideals at their core.