“When a man or woman who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he or she will either cease to be mistaken or cease being honest.” Thomas Paine (I added the female noun and pronoun reference).

At a time, Americans thought of themselves as collectively strong; we now identify ourselves as individually entitled. This is my most significant observation since retiring from the United States Military. A lot is written about the decline of America. It is likely the moral failure that will lead to the demise of America. We are a weaker nation than at any other time in our country’s history. Does this mean the end of America? No, it does not, but this country will eventually fail if we do not change our direction.

In the national and international security realm, Americans overwhelmingly view China as a threat to the United States rather than a “partner.” ACCORDING TO A PEW RESEARCH CENTER SURVEY, most U.S. adults think their country is failing to win the competition for geopolitical influence. Russia, North Korea, and Iran are also aligned with China and oppose all national interests of the United States of America.

We are still reeling from the embarrassment and fallout of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which encouraged China to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. America lost the trust and confidence of the world. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine threatens Europe and further divides America. Our nuclear containment policy is weak and allows North Korea and Iran to expand their nuclear programs at the expense of the security stability in their regions. Our inability to determine a strong position in support of Taiwan creates uncertainty and instability in Asia.

Over the last 70 years, we have seen an undermining of our institutions. Americans lack significant trust in their religious institutions. Our economic institution continues to create hardships for the average American. Our justice system has abandoned its values and principles, leading to a Justice system that is ineffective and only accessible to the wealthy. Our military is the weakest it’s been since the Vietnam War. Our military senior leadership is failing those they have sworn to protect. Our political system caters to the dysfunctional party system and has resulted in elected officials operating at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. Our education system in the United States is broken. Our children are not prepared for life. America is facing unprecedented political polarization and social division at home. This is primarily driven by weak leadership. The Republican and Democratic Parties are failing Americans. America cannot secure its borders, increasing crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking at a cost of life and billions of dollars to the American taxpayer.

Why has this happened? One reason is that telling the truth is not commonly practiced in our society today, and it is due to the prevailing culture of self-interests, self-preservation, and power and control. In a society where material possessions and social standing often measure success, truth-telling can sometimes hinder reaching one’s goals.

Moreover, the rise of digital media and its anonymity have also contributed to a decline in truth-telling. The internet has made it easier for individuals to create false narratives and spread misinformation without facing immediate consequences. This, coupled with the increasing polarization in society, has created an environment where truth is often sacrificed to promote one’s agenda or support one’s worldview. The concept of “alternative facts” has emerged, further blurring the line between truth and falsehood and making truth-telling less common in our society.

The United States of America has long been celebrated as a beacon of liberty, equality, and opportunity. The country’s founding principles were deeply rooted in core values that emphasized freedom, moral integrity, hard work, and the pursuit of happiness. These values have not only shaped the nation’s history but have also been instrumental in shaping its identity. However, in recent times, there has been a growing discourse surrounding the perceived decline of these American values.