America needs a 12-step program

My name is _________, and I am a recovering alcoholic. It took me a lot of years and a lot of pain to be able to say those words and really believe them. Along the way, I was arrogant, greedy and self-destructive. But the worst part was that I didn't see any of it. I think America can relate.

We've compromised our values, sold out our principles and used our freedoms to justify giving more power to the government. In the first century of America's life, its government was afraid of its citizens. Now, it's the other way around.

Maybe America should consider starting on the same kind of 12-step program that's helped millions of other addicts who couldn't see that they were slowly killing themselves. Here's my version of it, condensed to six steps.

Step One: Admit we are not powerless.

Take a look at our Constitution. Not just a transcript; find an actual picture of it. The first three words, "We the People," are at least four times larger than the others. Do you think that was an accident?

Step Two: Believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

Step Three: Decide to take our power back.

A recent polls says 81 percent of Americans now say that our country is on the wrong track. If you're one of those people, who do you blame? The Bush administration? Congress? The media?

Here's a crazy idea: How about blaming ourselves? ELECT SOMEONE NEW. Stop voting for the same people from the same party every year.We need to reclaim that power, and then we need to use it.

Step Four: Make a complete and fearless moral inventory.

What are America's faults? What are our assets? By taking stock of both, we can start to work on maximizing our strengths and eliminating our weaknesses. That brings me to Step Five.

Step Five: Admit our wrongs, and our rights.

Step Six: Be ready to remove our defects.

Just like an alcoholic, we simply cannot go from sleeping on the street to perfection overnight. This is a big ship, and it takes a long time to turn it around.

But we have to start somewhere, and the best place is with the defects that almost all of us agree on. For example, does anyone really believe that being addicted to Saudi Arabia's oil is a good idea? What about China owning billions of our debt? Speaking of debt, what about the fact that we've saddled our children with $53 trillion in future Social Security and Medicare obligations?

But before we can address any problems, we have to first admit we have them. Many of us are in denial about just how divided we've become. We think that it's just the election or the war that's tearing us apart, but the truth is, it's much larger than that. We're every bit as arrogant, greedy and self-destructive as I was when I hit bottom [as an alcoholic].

But until we're able to stand up and say, "Hello, my name is America and I have a problem," we'll never even have a chance.

[Excerpt of an article by Glen Beck, CNN]

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