Let’s return America to greatness. Impossible? Too hard? Too painful? Too controversial? Maybe just throw some tarps over the whole American jumble and sneak away whistling “Dixie,” pretending it’ll all work out? That’s tempting. And there’s good precedent for it. But history doesn’t favor those granted the opportunity to survey a situation—but who look the other way.

About 30 miles from my ancestral home in Italy, 2,000 ancient Pompeiians lost their lives in 79 CE because they wined and dined and went about their days ignoring the obvious “rumblings” of Vesuvius. The Gulf of Naples literally boiled before them. Their wells dried up, and millions of Roman rats decamped for parts south. Still the citizens imbibed their dates and honey. History lies littered with the fossils of civilizations that perished in an instant of inattention. Or after years or even centuries of obvious decay that no one took seriously enough, for which no one felt personal responsibility.

Two thousand years later, it took us Allies far too long to get into World War II. In fact, several red flags waved in front of our complacent faces before Pearl Harbor. But imagine if we hadn’t gone at all and just hoped the world would sort itself out on its own. Why on Earth would we commit our precious blood? All the evidence showed Hitler and his Blitzkrieg buddies aimed to dominate the world from their exponentially expanding Axis lands. Japan invaded China. The Nazis overran Poland. Then a major morning strike that caught us unawares on our own soil? Yikes.

But of course we had to respond. Millions of men and women considered it not only their national duty, but their personal responsibility. Who is fighting to restore American family values if not us? So those brave souls knew exactly what they were getting into, and they went anyway. Can we? We must. How else can we ensure social, cultural, and political stability?

The point is, a survey requires a few key things, not the least of which is open eyes, courage, and honesty. But it all comes down to people’s own sense of accountability. Even against the odds, you can empower yourself to believe that your attitudes and actions can make a difference in the big picture. They can. They did back then, and they will again.

We don’t have an imminent war right now. Or do we? We’ve got a disintegrating critical infrastructure. We need to undertake a national re-engineering project. We need a revolutionary social movement rooted in old-fashioned Conservative values and beliefs. To return America to greatness, we need the kind of mindset we had during WWII.

Let’s get to work. Saddle up. Lock and load.

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