People in the States spend a lot of time pointing fingers. Whether it is in politics, on the economy, why our schools suck, or the people at the pub on why that food order didn’t get out in time. The question gets asked often, ‘Is America Great Anymore’? A case can be made for both sides of that question. What strikes me though, is that we don’t think ‘great’.
I’ll give some examples. China sent its first woman astronaut into space this week. We don’t have a real space program anymore. We’re hoping private enterprise does it. After what private enterprise has done lately to this planet, I think there will be some bad karma headed our way if we turn it loose on the rest of the cosmos. A great nation once went from no real space program to being the first to reach the moon in under a decade.
Feed The Children – you know, that NGO group with the starving third world kids in the commercials – has started running ads to save American kids. Our poverty level (highest in the developed world) has now reached the point where 1/4 of all kids suffer. School buses now pick up kids in hotels and car parks because there are so many homeless ones that is often where they congregate. There is no national outrage about this. A great nation once upon a time launched a ‘War On Poverty’.
The great American novel use to be the envy of the literature world. Only a couple writers try to make the effort anymore. The likes of Mailer, Uris, and Hemingway have been replaced by Snooki who can hire someone to make it look like she can read and write, or the endless parade of political pundit books dedicated to bashing whoever they hate at the moment. Apparently some people never really do tire of hearing themselves speak. Only a half century ago, American novels use to be the standard to write by, now they’re killing the language.
It was announced this week that thousands of drones will start flying and ‘observing’ over the U.S. What they’re going to be observing is a little muddled – probably on purpose. But, history would suggest that great nations seldom are so paranoid.
We have a presidential candidate who went on a national television show and basically said, if you have no medical insurance, that is your problem. If you live or die, not a real social concern because it is an issue of costs. Great nations usually realize that there are things more valuable than money.
It just occurs to me that maybe we aren’t great because we never think ‘great’. There are no big challenges. There is no ‘us’ anymore. There is no lofty goal. Hell, we can’t even get a men’s soccer team to qualify for the Olympics. Our national team was eliminated by El Salvador of all places. Yeah, now that I think of it, we’re a long way from ‘great’.