Can We Do Better?

by Greg Leitschuh

The latest crisis in America with President Clinton has brought many people to examine the moral values and beliefs within US society. The general consensus based on recent surveys has concluded that we have "lost our way". Three out of four Americans believe that the country is in a serious state of moral decline on all levels. The White House scandal has highlighted the symptom that seems to be pressing in from the media, the local neighborhood and individual families -- the problem of eroding values.

While most Americans say that extra-marital affairs and adultery are wrong, they are reluctant to remove Bill Clinton from office. There appears to be two opinions as to what is expected of the president. One group says that it's performance that matters rather than what you do in your personal life. The other says that he should be morally responsible and accountable for his actions and that he is to be a role model for the people -- especially the young. This latter view seems to be the more traditional one but has been losing ground in recent months. Society is more concerned with the government's role in providing economic prosperity than the character of the individual. It has been said that people vote with their wallets -- which seems to be the situation here.

This latest issue has again raised the question as to why people tolerate immoral behavior either in a president, leader or the average person on the street. It has been said by many that "everyone else is doing it so why not him?" Does this make a wrong right because everyone else is doing it? It appears from statements like this that modern society has lost its basic foundation for moral values. There has come into many lives a greyness which has clouded our view as to what is decent and proper and what is not. Behavior and opinions that would not be tolerated thirty years ago are now commonly accepted by many people.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect is that society has few answers to deal with these problems and questions. Many feel that the answer does not lie in better education or upbringing. There are many instances of well-educated people from good backgrounds who have done terrible things. Most Americans believe in God and the Bible while more than half attend church regularly. To go further, most agree to a standard as to what is right and wrong but fail to live up to those beliefs. What is it that prevents us from doing what we know is right? This problem is not new. In the first century a writer in the New Testament named Paul said "the good that I would I cannot do but the evil I hate is what I do". (Romans 7:19) What is needed in our lives is not more conditioning or a better environment but a power within us that can enable us to live the way we know we should.

Return to Table of Contents