I will sail my vessel ‘til the river runs dry.
Like a bird upon the wind, these waters are my sky.
I’ll never reach my destination if I never try,
So I will sail my vessel ‘til the river runs dry.
Garth Brooks’s lyrics sing a song of determination that begins with his all-important first step of getting into the boat with a sense of purpose and working as hard as he can to keep the vessel from tipping over in heavy winds.
Whether our rivers are real or imaginary, it is sometimes difficult to keep sailing our vessels in the right direction to achieve the long-term results we strive for as individuals, as families – and even as a nation.
Carl Bernstein (of Bernstein and Woodward in the Nixon years) says we Americans live today in the midst of a cold civil war. Garth Brooks might say that sailing our vessel of democracy has gotten much more difficult as heavy winds blow against it with more suspicions of each other in every news cycle.
Discernment of truth is ridiculed. Harsh rhetoric – whether true or not – is applauded and considered to be shaking things up that should have been shaken up a long time ago in Washington. Our vessel of democracy tilts too far leeward or too far windward with politics to the left or right that create schisms which have become as wide as the Grand Canyon.
Earth to America: your vessel is in trouble and in danger of sinking.
The passion we feel to protect and preserve our families must be the same passion we feel to protect and preserve our democratic ideals. A small wind of individual apathy toward basic civic responsibilities such as voting can become a hurricane force when it is multiplied by millions who have lost faith in their institutions and the people who are in charge of them.
All of us are in the same boat with the same basic needs for clean air to breathe, food to eat, pure water to drink, affordable popcorn at the movies…well, maybe popcorn is a bridge too far…
We must each do our part to ensure the waters of kindness, compassion, respect for our differences, celebration of our shared humanity – like birds upon the wind, these waters are our skies and we will sail our vessels as individuals, as families and as a nation ’til the river runs dry.