Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Ugly American

There is a sad fact about the USA.

We are the most arrogant nation on the planet. We have a pretty good reason to be since we alone profess and actually possess a level of freedom considered ridiculous by many.

WE have another great reason. Two world wars. And while we were not the overarching victors of WWI that we were in WWII we damn sure made the difference.

More reasons. Korea and Vietnam come to mind. We died by the truckload to preserve, protect, and defend the freedom concept. If there were political realities involved, or proxies to fight, so what. In the long view the cause was just.

Even more reasons. We either invented, or made practical applications of damn near every thing. Automobiles, Aircraft, Cameras, Computers, etc. If we didn't invent it outright we damn sure built it better and made it work in a reality based world.

We were so accustomed to doing great things (if we can put a man on the moon [five times]) on a regular schedule that we took it for granted.

As the great deeeds began to fade, we still knew we were great. Since we knew we were the savior of the world we expected the world to show due deference. We expect the world to speak English and put up signs for us as well. When was the last interstate highway sign printed in Japanese or even Spanish?

As the old soldiers began to fade away we asked if fighting and dying were worth it. After all, we are Americans, who is going to challenge us? So we cut back and taught our children that schoolyard fights required therapy. We decided that every swat was abuse. We decided competition in schools wasn't the right thing to do. Besides, there was time to learn all that in college right?

As our educational system became less competative, we told ourselves that hard functional education wasn't needed. Just throw money at it. Japan and Singapore now routinely embarrass us in the field of Academics.

And yet, most Americans still honestly believe that we are the greatest nation on the earth. If we do it, it must be right. And we still expect the world to change to our way of thinking.

We have the very best and most honorable men and women in uniform taking orders from the least honorable among us. And as the wars and rumors of wars continue (likely long after the current President is gone) I hope that we will find our national character again so that we can live up to the example being shown today on the front lines. I hope that our citizens begin to realise that greatness, like fitness, takes work. Otherwize you go to seed. I'm afraid that our national character is so fragmented that we are going to seed.

It's time for more than just the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines get into the gym and get fit. It is time return to greatness without simply bashing about the world like a bull in a china shop. It can be done, but the question really is: Do we as a nation have the will to do it?

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