Do you remember when America was GREAT?

I am in my 40’s and I have vivid memories of graphic examples of American greatness

I was front and center for the launch of the first Space Shuttle.  When I say front and center, we had friends who were important at NASA and we were in the VIP viewing area.  The one that was later moved back because the exhaust fumes got on us and ate the paint off the NASA cars.  I remember the built in holds and the suspense buzzing through the crowd. I can still smell the exhaust.  I still remember the roar of the engines and wondering why I could see the Shuttle moving but not hear it… YET.  These memories are all burned in with the clarity that America was unified in declaring this a great triumph.

I was young, but I remember the vitality of the inauguration of Ronald Reagan.  Even (reasonable) people who did not vote for him admitted he could do good things.  And he DID GREAT things.

When Team USA defeated the Soviets in Ice Hockey.  I had never watched more than a quarter out of a hockey match.  My family didn’t really know the rules, but we knew it was possibly history in the making and we were riveted to the TV.  Afterwards, we joined in with the rest of America celebrating amateur atheletes defeating drug enhanced professionals and in that saw the greatness inherent in our system.

More of a slow wave then a single event; but, the personal home computer’s introduction into our lives.  Think Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and Al Gore inventing the internet.

Do you see this fire in the belly of America today?  Do you see an emphasis on exceptionalism?  Do you see companies taking risks to advance technologies?

Or do you see America acting like the movie industry and just going through the motions with a rehash and spit polish of previous successes?

Or are you like many (myself included) who are very concerned that America has outlived its shelf life.  By this I mean.

 “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.” Alexander Tyler in 1787

And yes, I know we are a republic.  The point remains.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under politics

2 responses to “Do you remember when America was GREAT?

  1. You could also view the USA as an empire, and all empires follow cycles of rise and decline. When I was a child, I thought as a child and estimated “greatness” by things like military and athletic prowess. When I became a man, I put away childish things, or tried to. What constitutes greatness for me now is original, innovative, groundbreaking ideas that are useful globally.

    Our politics, health care, education systems and nutrition aren’t as great as they are in some other countries. Others now live longer, better and more safely than we do. That we have fallen behind in these areas, yet still resist learning from places that have surpassed us, is a symptom of our declining greatness in some ways.

    But the traditions in the arts are still strong. We produce lots of great music and literature, and despite your view of Hollywood, American movies are in high demand for export everywhere. America’s greatness also continues in most areas of research. We are leaders in new techniques for building construction, and for software.

    Unfortunately, we are still the greatest country ever for manufacturing and selling all kinds of technology for cheaper, more effective killing. I don’t consider that a positive.

    • You can call the US an empire. That does not make it so. An empire is a country that has dominion over vassal states. These vassal states are usually conquered territories or colonies that must pay tribute or are exploited for their natural resources and forced to purchase finished goods from the dominion country.

      examples: Roman empire, British empire…

      The US has conquered MANY nations but has never set up a true vassalage situation and has not done anything even close in over 100 years. Think Germany and Japan in WWII, Panama, Grenada, Iran. All were handily defeated militarily, then REBUILT at the expense of the US taxpayer and subsiquently granted freedom to rule themselves.

      I will not debate you on the politics, healthcare… not because I am not certain that you are incorrect; rather, because there is no point. I am fairly certain we have completely different manners of ranking such items. One would be that I don’t believe spending my grandkids money to finance universal healthcare is a better way to “invest” in healthcare.

      I also do rate our ability to kill others efficiently as a positive. To quote a famous president, “speak softly and carry a big stick”. (FDR) I want that big stick. When we have had a president who was willing to wield that stick, we usually didn’t have to. Peace through fear is still peace. Or to quote a famous Roman, “Let them hate, so long as they fear”. (Caligula) Or to quote a modern author, “an armed society is a polite society”. Heinlein

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s