A Letter by Ryan Woolf

Ryan Woolf   |   November 07, 2022

Dear America,

I remember the pain of long runs in the southern sun or even longer road marches under the weight of a rucksack. When neither my mind or body could possibly fathom making it to the finish line, I would not focus on the final mile or even the next mile. In order for me to make it to the end I could only focus on the next step. When an objective feels too immense, overwhelming, or too great a task to achieve, I have found that the best thing to do is to focus on the next step – on doing the next right thing.

From where many of us sit the task of repairing our republic, saving our country, and healing our nation’s wounds seems impossible. Can we rebuild bridges that have been burned? Can we cross the divide between left and right? These are not easy tasks. Some people might see their achievements as improbable while others have already written them off as lost causes. What can we, as individual Americans, do in these “times that try men’s souls*”? The answer is relatively simple, do the next right thing.

If we all focus on doing the next right thing, we will not become overwhelmed by the immense challenges we face. Doing the next right thing means choosing not to post that negative comment on Facebook. Doing the right thing is sitting down with your neighbor over coffee instead of silently resenting them over a perceived grievance. Doing the next right thing is asking and not assuming; it is shaking hands and not throwing insults; it is starting from a place of good and not evil; it is engaging with positive intent and not malice. Honestly, doing the next right thing is easy.

America, we all have a choice to make. The choice is relatively simple. Will you choose to do the next right thing?

Your fellow countryman,

Ryan Woolf


*Paine, T. (1776) The American crisis No. 1 By the author of Common sense. Boston Sold opposite the court house Queen Street. Boston. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.03902300/.