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The late great America

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By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

I recently had one of those moments when I saw something on TV and said to myself, “That’s it! That’s the truth I’ve suspected all along!” It came when I saw Paul Solman’s latest “Making Sense” segment on the PBS News Hour.

Solman interviewed economist Todd Buckholz, who argues that as nations get richer they become more likely to implode because they take their eyes off what made them great in the first place. Like all the long-gone world empires, from the Greeks and Romans to the British, he argues that America has lost its national pride, work ethic and desire to produce children, while relying more on immigrants to do our menial work for us.

To me, the loss of national pride can be stated another way: Losing our humility, our mutual interdependence, our desire to treat others equally. It points to something else we’ve thrown out that’s an even more critical element of our success: Our faith in God.

I recently wrote that we no longer trust God, whose presence makes us focus on others as well as ourselves. As we do this we begin to think we’re capable of maintaining the good life we possess, as if we created it by and for ourselves. When we lose our focus in God, we stop relying on him to protect, inform and preserve us, and thus fall prey to our own egos, fantasies and failures. You tell me if that is a recipe for maintaining our greatness.

All God’s blessings – Mark

About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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