After a few watershed weeks, I decided I needed to pose a few questions to myself.

While we’re here on this earth, do we make a difference? If we were fortunate to be born in America, the odds are we have had it pretty good. I’m not Pollyanna (I won’t explain that one). I recognize many of our fellow citizens know poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime and unspeakable hardships.

It’s a sad commentary that the country that has prided itself on being the shining city on a hill has fallen short, while at the same time has offered much to so many.

We were given a gift 200-plus years ago. We were given the chance to chart a destiny, not just at that time and for the generations that have come since, but a chance to actually do something that is bigger than any individual, group, religion, race or gender.

We were given an opportunity to be the species that enhanced the world, while the founders could not imagine what was to follow even a few short years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the adoption of a Constitution.

As we assess our past, present and future, I hope that each of us will pause and ask ourselves a few questions during this interminable election season. Before we can assess where any candidate stands on issue(s), I think we need to be sure of where we stand. We may think we know our thoughts on a variety of things, but do we really? I’ve decided to think about a few things as the next few months unfold.

How do I define courage? Does my definition apply equally to myself and what I expect of others? Am I a celebrity junkie? Does one’s wealth or fame make me think they are somehow better or smarter than I? Do I laugh or cringe when someone is being vilified for expressing their particular views? If someone disagrees with me, do I think they are stupid or is it OK in this supposedly free land?

If someone prefers green over purple, does that make them a traitor? Am I comfortable supporting anyone who may gain power to tax, enact laws, arrest, go to war if they don’t know Kansas City is in Missouri; Frederick Douglass is deceased; the wheel was not invented in the United States?

Since I have read the Constitution several times, and many history books, do I accurately recall the meaning of rule of law, separation of powers, and checks and balances? Is there any situation where I would be comfortable if anyone with immense power used the tools of government, that I help pay for, to intimidate any fellow citizen?

Is faith something one practices cafeteria style – pick and choose our favorite parts and dismiss the rest? Whatever my spiritual views, how do I feel when the most powerful individual in the world stands before that world and states openly he disagrees with the very words and teachings the Bible tells us came directly from Jesus?

I’m sure I’ll have more questions of myself; this is a start.

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