Many Unsung Heroes in America

At this moment in time, too many of us despair of America’s greatness. Our pluralist society is splintering, our leadership is lacking, and our government is gridlocked. Above all is the view that we are headed in the wrong directions.

What we forget is that America does not need to be Made Great Again. Rather, America remains the preeminent military, economic, and cultural force on the planet.

Despite charges that we may be no longer #1 in the world, we should remember that we have recovered all the lost ground since the crash of 2008 and our official unemployment rate is back to a normal 5%. Yes, our economy is changing shape as we adapt to the global marketplace. Yes, we have fewer manufacturing jobs than in the past. But those are not American problems; they are global problems—no president can (or should) halt the inevitable globalization or stymie technological progress. While some sectors of our economy have not come back as strongly as others, our economy as a whole is strong and getting stronger. Our currency and national credit standing are the strongest in the world. The alleged loss of greatness is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

The proponents of Making America Great Again love to exclaim that our political/military standing in the world is shrinking dramatically. That is not true. Our military may not be exactly what some of the modern threats in the world require at the moment, but there is no military in the world that even begins to be comparable with ours. And while we may not be able to assert as much peaceful political influence in the world as we once did, no other country has more. Our perceived lack of greatness likely has much more to do with changing geopolitical realities in a post-Cold War world than any actual loss of standing in the global community.

On a more personal, individual level, our citizens are as great as ever. Millions of our fellow citizens do their damnedest to protect us from every form of hazard in life. Virtually every community in America has an emergency ambulance service and volunteer fire department on call 24/7. Furthermore, some police departments also rely on volunteers for special occasions and problems. Altogether that probably adds up to at least two million engaged, public-spirited, and generous unsung heroes.

In addition, every community in America has hospitals, social service organizations, and other entities devoted to making the lives of their universe of fellow citizens safer and better. That surely is another two or three million people who are voluntarily engaged in the improving the lives of their fellow citizens.

Now I ask you, is that a picture of an America that is no longer great? Or is it possible that we are all being sold a bill of rotten thoughts, designed to upset us for the obvious implicit purpose of gaining a political advantage.

That one egoistical narcissist (no matter how rich he claims to have made himself) will, like Zeus, throw his bolts of genius from on high and solve today’s problems defies all reasonable imagination.

I hope that the vast majority of the seventy million people who did not vote in any primaries will recognize this ultimate truth and vote overwhelmingly to continue the long held path of dealing with our challenges the way we always have: by rolling up our sleeves and going to work for the public good over the short and long run.

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