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America is out of touch with its founding principles

America has been a great nation since its start and it developed relatively quickly. Other nations have been around for centuries yet had little influence on globalization and the world, leading one to ask how America achieved its success. The answer to that question is America became a world leader so rapidly because of the moral fabric it was based upon.

America was built with the middle class as its backbone. As a society, citizens have worked together toward insurmountable-seeming achievements. They have done so through respect, doing what is right and working for the greater good.

Many other countries have not achieved what America has because they have too much classism and greed. When the majority of society is working efficiently and cooperatively, the greatest results are seen. This can be seen in cultures such as that of ancient Rome.

America’s moral fabric could also be said to be the foundation of the country because it was the shared morality of its founders that inspired them to declare independence.

It seems, however, that this moral foundation has been crumbling over the past few decades. The respect that was once given is not there anymore. Many people feel they must get respect to give respect, but this thought is, essentially, the basis of the problem and needs to be changed.

In this time of economic crises it seems particularly important to reiterate that respect must be given before it is expected in return. This is a time unlike any most have seen before. This generation can’t relate to the Great Depression or World Wars and doesn’t seem to understand what hard times really are.

Society overcame those crises because people banded together and helped each other. The standards of decency were higher because of a stronger sense of ethical responsibility.

As a society, people have forgotten what the true source of our problems is. It is easy to look at individual situations and feel helpless, but we are only truly helpless if we give up.

Members of the younger generation don’t give their elders the respect they deserve. They neglect to remember that they owe many of the opportunities they have today to the efforts of their parents, grandparents and ancestors before them.

These days, everyone is feeling the recession and lack of health care and other public services — and it shows. People are upset about the situations they are in and take it out on everyone else. One person disrespects another, who shows dissatisfaction by disrespecting others in a vicious cycle.

People live in a “take what you feel you deserve” world instead of an “ask and receive” one. People need to remember that much of the country is struggling under the same pressures.

The irony is, when people feel wronged and deal with it as they have been doing, the injustice expands because the source has not been identified or corrected. If people are more supportive of each other and deal with problems as a group, they accomplish much more.

It is unfortunate that America’s moral fabric is deteriorating, but that situation can be reversed in an ethically sound way. It is pertinent that this country strengthen the foundations upon which it was founded. That is the only way we will overcome the current economic struggle and persevere as a nation. Let’s bring America back into the great ranks that it once held and can hold again.

Robert Gaylord is a junior majoring in civil engineering.