50

The United States of America

   

            And now we come to the end.  And what better place to wrap up than with the United States of America?  In recent years, it’s become en vogue to claim that the Golden Age of America is behind us, that the once revered and feared American Empire no longer holds sway in the world, that some up and coming nation might remove America from its global sway.  Or worse yet, that America is self-destructing from within, that its gluttonous values, its rigged economic systems and its hopeless political landscape will soon trash whatever is left of a once mighty people.

            I’m just not buying it.

            I just don’t see what the doomsayers see.  Yes, if you’re comparing the US to a utopia, it inevitably comes up short.  But when you compare it to other actual countries (not mere theoretical ideals), it’s doing OK.  Let’s just see how America stacks up.

            It has the largest economy in the world - $15 trillion and counting – and the largest military in the world.  Its troops are on 700+ bases in 156 different countries.  It houses the most sought after universities in the world.  Its Hollywood movies dominate.  Its musicians sell millions of albums.  Its franchises (Subway, McDonald’s, 7-11, Burger King and Pizza Hut to name a few) sell goods everywhere.  Its Coca-Cola is only NOT sold in Cuba and North Korea  It exports to the world the most cars, the most airplanes, the most computers, the most weapons, the most medical equipment, the most pharmaceutical drugs and the most food.  It’s on track to be the #1 exporter of oil by 2017.  It has the most immigrants in the world.  It would attract the most tourists in the world, if not for that darn Eiffel Tower. It gives out the most patents and copyrights.  It has the most Fortune 500 companies.  It has the most billionaires.  

            It looks like America is doing just fine. 

            But that doesn’t mean the US doesn’t have problems.  Oh, it has a host of issues, roadblocks and conflicts that threaten to cause its people frustration and anxiety for years to come, but none of these is going to realistically bring down its civilization.  America has always proven to be resilient, and its economic and political systems have always found a way of making life work.

            Yet for another generation, America’s greatest strength is its greatest weakness.  America is a pluralistic society, welcoming all people and all ideas.  Subsequently, its society has always...