Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 Great Things and 5 Not So Great Things About America

5 Great Things About America:

ONE.  Every 4 to 8 years we have a peaceful transition of government.  People in power leave voluntarily, and new people move in.  Many world historians consider this a miracle.

TWO.  We can travel from state-to-state whenever we want, without having to show a passport or papers of any kind. We can cross the whole country without interference.   We take this for granted, but over the course of history, the freedom we enjoy is unusual, and we should treasure it.

THREE.  Anywhere you go in our country, you can go into a restaurant and be pretty confident that it is safe and sanitary.  Why?  Because every state has a Health Department that sees that restaurants live up to health standards, that’s why.   So, some of our tax money really works, doesn’t it?

FOUR.  We have a great collection of colleges and universities – the best in the world.  Our universities do innovative research in physics, medicine, environmental studies, and technology.  If knowledge eventually saves our world civilization, much of that knowledge will have been gained right here in the USA.

FIVE.  Our civilization does best when there are frontiers.  We have two frontiers left: the ocean depths and outer space.  The USA is the world’s best space-faring nation.  Right now we have a rover named “Curiosity” studying the planet Mars. 

5 Not-So-Great Things About America:

ONE.  We have a democratic system, but it’s broken.  One way it’s broken is that candidates for office spend their time slamming one another.  Or, they’re hurling around catch phrases and generalizations.  They do not do what they are supposed to, which is tell us their vision for America’s future and specifically how and why their proposed policies will get us there.

TWO.  We are much too legalistic.  There are too many lawyers running the show.  We have to sign contracts for everything we do – contracts that are too long to read and too obscure to understand.  Instead of working things out like reasonable people, we’re always in court.

THREE.   We don’t have our eye on the ball.  Most Americans are so busy watching sports, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars or American Idol, or are busy planning weddings or showers, that we don’t know what’s going on socially, economically or politically.  It’s just like during the decline of the Roman Empire.  They called it “Bread and Circuses” then, and it looks like that’s what we’ve got again today. 

FOUR.   The next generation is getting fat and out-of-shape.  The New England Journal of Medicine reports that among today’s 5-10-year-olds, sixty percent of them have at least one risk factor for eventual heart disease (too many video games and too much junk food).

FIVE.   RAP and Hip-Hop.  I used to think that they’d never come up with a style of popular music that I couldn’t stand.  I was wrong.

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