Have you ever wondered why people mourn the loss of individuals of stature, such as celebrities and political leaders who are complete and total strangers, with profound sadness and frustration? Think about the celebrity deaths over the last few years like Michael Jackson and Avicii or, more recently, Kobe Bryant and the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. After each of their deaths, some of which were untimely, we saw people mourning for days and even weeks, crying out in the streets asking why or how such a terrible thing could have happened.

Regardless of how tragic, unfortunate or untimely some of their deaths may have been, we are reminded that no one knows when their time will come, and that death waits for no man. An old southern Christian saying suggests that we’re only here for a season, and some seasons for some people are shorter than others. So, in thinking along those terms, we can accept that death is inevitable and can happen at any given moment. Yet that reality doesn’t take away the pain or emotion that we each feel when we suffer a loss. However, those feelings and emotions of loss are typically toward a family member or someone we were close to, not a complete stranger whom we’ve never met or may have briefly met, but never really knew.

This brings me back to my original question, why are so many of us emotionally impacted and devastated by the death of a celebrity, a complete stranger? Some people mourn the death of celebrities and other well-known figures more than they do a close relative or friend. Perhaps our society has become so infatuated with the characters created by these “influential” people that we genuinely feel that they’re a part of our lives and in that concept lies the problem with Americans.

Many men and women among us have come to value the life of unknown “influencers” greater than the life of their own blood because many have become conditioned to hold celebrities and people of power to untenable heights as if they’re demi-gods worthy of infinite praise and worship. As a result, they couldn’t dare exalt themselves to mourn equally or with more significant pain the loss of a loved one because, to put it frankly, what have they done to impact culture or the world?

People will take off from work, seek counseling and buy expensive souvenirs all to salute their idol, but what about the everyday idols and heroes within our families? Are they too not worthy of the same praise, if not greater? Should they not be elevated for their direct contribution to our lives and our familial experiences?

Family and community are things that are created and established organically and over time. The networks that we establish through the interpersonal and multifaceted webs should absolutely trump the sense of worship that people bestow upon complete strangers, people with which they have had no established intimate, personal relationship. Reinforcing these strange relationships only degrades the intimacy and sensation of the senses that are uniquely tied to personal loss and they should be regarded for only those matters of the heart.

There must be a deep sense of emptiness within man that we permit the deepest aspects of the human heart and its emotions to be relegated to absolute strangers. That is not to say that we shouldn’t feel sorrow for the dead or for the loss that their loved ones feel, but it is to say that we should not feel the same sorrow we would feel for a family member or loved one. This being in reverse suggests a breakdown of our familial tides which points to an even more concerning breakdown of our overall society because the family structure builds strong character among men and women, which furthers strong communities, and which collectively creates and sustains a strong nation.

The future of America rests on this. While there is no obvious connection between mourning a celebrity or other person of influence, the correlated breakdown is deeper than what the eye may see. The United States has seen a degradation in its overall national standing for a long time, in part because of the breakdown of communities, which can be pointed to the breakdown of the family, which is a unique result of the breakdown of the individual.

Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”