America’s suffering will define the soul of the nation

Anderson edited”Leverage effect: a political, economic and societal framework(Springer, 2014), taught at five universities, and ran for the Democratic nomination for a Maryland congressional seat in 2016.

The British Romantic poet John Keats remarked in one of his famous letters – letters that British literary critic FR Leavis called as equally important as his poems – that the world is “a valley of soul-making”. . It responded to the traditional Christian view that suffering in the world made life a “valley of tears”, as in a valley of tears. The Valley of Tears led to an afterlife of eternal bliss, but Keats believed that suffering on Earth had to have meaning here – namely the building of a soul.

The inescapable suffering of life, according to Keats, could be used to build a soul, a soul capable of understanding itself and others. Life requires understanding the harshness of reality, and the meaning of life depends on the ability to come out of suffering.

Keats expressed this outlook on life when he was 23 years old. At the age of 8, he lost his father, who was trampled by a horse after he fell. Keats lost his mother to tuberculosis when he was 14. He witnessed intense suffering when he studied to become a doctor. At 22, he takes care of his younger brother Tom, who died of tuberculosis. Keats himself died of tuberculosis at the age of 25.

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Keats’ concept of life as a valley of soul-making can also be applied to a society.


The life of a democratic society like the United States goes through many stages in its quest to become a more perfect union. These stages are marked as much by innovation, scientific and technological developments, moral progress as by violence, exploitation, lynchings, war and injustice.

Historians speak of periods in the life of America, including the Founding Period, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, World War I, the New Deal Era, the Civil Rights era, the Cold War and the Reagan Revolution. Each of these periods is certainly marked by political, economic and social changes.

Yet the soul of the country is something more than the changing nature of the country’s politics, economy and culture. Additionally, the soul of a nation is more complex than the soul of a person, because nations have groups in conflict with each other and may lack a sense of identity and purpose. nationals.

What’s missing in America today is not just a shared sense of national identity and purpose, but a shared assumption that we must have a shared sense of national identity and purpose.

Many Washington insiders can talk about this need, but the majority of Americans don’t. Instead, they vote for politicians who support the policies that matter to them – whether it’s abortion, guns, health care, immigration, child custody. children or the environment – or simply live their lives indifferent to politics or believe that both sides ignore them.

We have reached a point in the evolution of our national soul where we must rethink the history of who we are.

The Keats theme of suffering and meaning may help. The suffering endured by our fellow citizens has often led to profound changes in our political and economic institutions.

The story, however, cannot be centered on freedom, because that will turn into an intellectual anthem to a thin form of capitalism and a very general affirmation of the Bill of Rights. Nor can we simply list freedom, equality, tolerance, and justice, for that would result in an assortment of democratic ideals that are both inspirational and unidentifiable as distinctly American.

Seeking the American Dream is worn.

Indeed, we must rise above the Fourth of July orations and come to a concept that will unite Americans of all political backgrounds and those who have retired from politics altogether.

The theme of Keatsian suffering can speak to today’s radicals who want to eradicate systemic racism, sexism and all forms of oppression.

The theme of Keatsian suffering can also speak to mainstream liberals who celebrate the victories of women (gaining the right to vote in 1920), African Americans (with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964) , and memes from the LGBTQ community (which has been gaining rights over the past decade).

Finally, the theme of Keatsian suffering can speak to conservatives who proudly and patriotically celebrate the passion and moral drive of the Founding Fathers and the men who fought in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

The American soul won’t take no for an answer.

She was born out of suffering, she fights injustice and she never gives up, even if at some point society is divided between those who believe that justice reigns and those who believe that injustice reigns.

In the months leading up to the midterm elections, both parties and all candidates should explain to the American people what it means to be American and why failing is no reason to stop trying to make our country better and to make peace in the world.

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