Remembering American Greatness

Making America great isn’t what someone can do, it’s actually who we are. We need to look through the current rhetoric which is very much an either/or proposition. It seems that a person must not only support some policy or position in the current times, there needs to be a loyalty which translates into for or against, black or white, yes or no. The pendulum only swings from left to right with no hesitation in between. We all have opinions on how our country reached this level of animosity. I too have my opinion but so what? Remembering how I arrived where I am today may help me remember what we can be. What I can be. Perhaps what America can be.

American greatness is not measured by its monetary wealth although it remains a very wealthy country. Nor does American ingenuity translate into our greatness although most ingenious we are. America has great institutions of learning but greatness isn’t learned but understanding greatness may be. Our military superiority does not make America great but it does make us strong. Although we tend not to use our military to become occupiers of other countries but with all this might we seem unable to leave countries we do not want to occupy. Why or how is America great?

Growing up in the fifties and sixties provides some insight. World War II and Korea were fresh in people’s minds. Not only those who gave their lives, but worked the factories, lost loved ones and carried the physical and psychological scars of war, these people were great. Those who went off to Vietnam not knowing where Vietnam was or the cause for which they fought, that seems like greatness to me. The working people, going out the door each day working in factories, stores, offices, inside, outside for wages and hopefully some fringe benefits, greatness resides there. These regular everyday people maintaining families, houses, little league games, weekend church events, barbecues and family and friend get togethers speaks of greatness. Looking back the world seemed different then, maybe more dependable or even greater. We conjure up these images of a life that was half-true and half false. Not much actually happened as we remember it but remembering is the road to pursue where we began and where we should be going.

America’s greatness is not in what we did although we did much. Maybe it’s how we did it, not just for money or because we were obligated to do so. As children we often dreamed of being princes or perhaps marrying a prince. Meghan Markle, an American of mixed race, is living that dream. In so doing she is saying to the world without speaking, America is the greatest land of all. When looking at what we were, we may remember what we can be. What we were was a family of different ethnicities, different races, different religions with all the bumps and bruises we inflict on each other as a family. Somehow we always picked ourselves up, dusted each other off and went on living together, like a family.

America has been great for many years now. Presently our myopia has reduced our vision. We need to engage our other senses to compensate for this. When we do our memory will clear and our vision will improve. American greatness didn’t disappear, it’s been somewhat obscured. Remembering who we were may show us who we can be.

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