Friday, January 3, 2014

American Exceptionalism

America, love it or leave it. The greatest nation. Patriotism. When did it become a conservative value to brag and boast about yourself?

We have vast territories with great climate for agriculture, mineral resources, forests, rivers, and tremendous scenic beauty. Our people bring with them tremendous diversity of culture and ideas. Why then do so many live in poverty? Why are so many unable to access basic health care? Why are our kids dropping out of school by the millions? Why are there no jobs?  Why are we lagging behind in technological innovations that will be necessary to provide energy and sustenance for our grandchildren? 

We can't afford to waste time and energy patting ourselves on the back and basking in past glory. We need to put aside  tribal squabbles and start investing in the future. How do the tiny Scandinavian countries with no resources to speak of manage to provide education, health care, and high living standards for all their people? They work together because their survival depends on it. 

I don't think we have that much to brag about. Yet. If we can get beyond the divisiveness and meanness created by political factionalism maybe we  can create something of which we can be really  proud. A country where every single child is born to parents who can provide a safe home and all the resources to give that child a strong foundation. A country where old people can retire with dignity and comfort, where sick people get the care they need without stress and worry about how they will live after going bankrupt to pay for it.  A country that invests in infrastructure, and education, and research, providing jobs and full employment for all. A country where people who work full-time at any job can live a decent life and provide the basics for their families.  

We are not there yet, but it's possible. 

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