What’s Still Great About America?

 

shutterstock_157520087As I take in the ever-expanding mosh pit of our politics and culture, I cannot help but come away frustrated, angry, and depressed about … well, everything. It is so easy to latch on to the things I don’t like, to fear the trends that seem so perilous to our future, to lament the rise of self-indulgent dependency, and to despise those so eager and willing to tread upon the rights and freedoms of others. You read the headlines, you consider the “values” we export, and you simply have to wonder whether we’ve squandered away our blessing, our greatness as a nation.

Our leaders, when they talk about America, just don’t seem to have much conviction in their words. Maybe that’s just my jaded ears. How sad is it that you have to go all the way back to Reagan’s speeches (thank heavens for YouTube) to reawaken that sense of belief, that sense of pride in our country and what it represented? I use the past tense intentionally, because I’m laboring to answer the question that follows.

The query I put to you: Despite all our wailing and gnashing of teeth at the state of our politics and culture today, what’s out there that you see that is still good, still true, still worthy of our faith, still worth fighting and dying for?  What are we taking for granted that we should be celebrating, promoting, and using to awaken the hope and trust of the people?

What’s still great about America?

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 25 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Jim Chase: What’s still great about America?

    The food. But Mrs Obama’s working on a fix.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.

    – Adam Smith

    There is a great deal more ruin in this nation than even Barack Obama is capable of dishing out.

    • #2
  3. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Large amounts of arable land.

    • #3
  4. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    I’ve had friends with very different religious and political beliefs.  And we got along just fine in spite of our differences in opinion.   When I hear about religious conflicts or civil wars in other countries, I’m glad to live in a culture where there really is a variety of opinion out there and no groups are trying to murder other groups over difference of thought.

    • #4
  5. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    What is great about America?  Everything but its leadership, its political class and government are becoming as corrupt as any banana republic and that rot is what will take us down till a correction takes place.

    • #5
  6. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Fake John Galt:

    What is great about America? Everything but its leadership…

     The American people vote in that leadership, though.  The leadership is a reflection of the American people.  I was very disappointed that a majority of American voters decided to give Barack a second term.

    • #6
  7. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Knotwise the Poet:

    Fake John Galt:

    What is great about America? Everything but its leadership…

    The American people vote in that leadership, though. The leadership is a reflection of the American people. I was very disappointed that a majority of American voters decided to give Barack a second term.

     The American people are given a choice that is so close at times as to have no meaning.  We have gotten where we are under both Republican and Democrat regimes.  The government beast still grows it is just a matter of rate and which group of cronies are stealing from the government piggy bank.  

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Texas.

    As I was once told by a wise Texan (shortly after I moved there): “Son, never ask a man if he was born in Texas.  If he was, he’ll soon tell ya.  If he wasn’t ya shouldn’t embarrass him.”

    Seawriter

    • #8
  9. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Is this question really just too abstract or subjective?  Every answer can easily be followed by a big bad “but” that darkens the whole enterprise.  I submit that America remains a land of tremendous opportunity and resources, where anyone can get an education, learn a trade, find a job, travel freely, buy land, build a house, raise a family, practice faith, help others, and pass it all down to the next generation to wisely nurture and steward.

    And instinctively, we’d turn around and trumpet the fact that economic constraints, government restraints, and a host of other factors work together to suppress the opportunities afforded us as citizens of this still great nation.  With every good thing, there is always a “but.”

    A sober examination reveals that all of this is true.  I’m a realist.  There is still good here; there is still greatness here.  We have to recognize it, promote it, celebrate it, sustain it.  And above all, believe it, lest it truly be lost.

    • #9
  10. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Here, Bill Whittle can you help you out.

    • #10
  11. user_615140 Inactive
    user_615140
    @StephenHall

    There is indeed a great deal of ruin in a nation. The United States has been in worse fixes before.

    Many Ricochetti will recall the period 1968-1980. Some may recall 1929-1945. Nobody will recall 1861-1865, but everyone will remember it. 

    You guys can recover. You always do.

    • #11
  12. GKC Inactive
    GKC
    @GKC

    The military.  And the sacrifices our soldiers continue to make, filling the voids of instability that would of course reign supreme were they not patrolling the globe.  The South, and so yes, Texas, and the last remnants of those virtues that built the nation — an interlocking hierarchy of duties and self-reliance, respect for religion and acceptance of life as a mystery, industriousness, liberty not as the libertine, and the ancient concepts of manliness and the gentleman.  

    I must say I’ve been thinking of this quite a bit lately.  Considering the toxic mass culture and the corrupt political class, there is simply not much to like anymore at the national level, at the American level.  Of course I’m taking for granted a million things, doubtlessly.  

    But Obama’s 2nd term election really did it for me.  And heaven forbid if HRC wins in 2016. How could one not despair were that to occur?  Imagine Obama and Clinton back-to-back, and get used to the fact that the country that once was truly ended, or began to end, in 1992; the nation that once was no longer is.

    • #12
  13. user_313423 Inactive
    user_313423
    @StephenBishop

    Knotwise the Poet:

    Here, Bill Whittle can you help you out.

     Compare with Peter Schiff’s view

    How do I embed a Youtube video. Please send me a message if you know.

    • #13
  14. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    The problem we have as folks who are interested in politics is that we see everything thru that lens. The fact is the majority of the country ignores politics whenever possible. And while it’s true that the political mess that is Washington and the past 10 years in particular have added regulation, red tape, and debt to our economy and done damage to our country- these are fixable problems. Every day people are out there doing amazing things outside of politics. PJ O’Rourke perhaps put it best when he summed up why we won the cold war – “seventy two years of communist indoctrination was drowned out by a 3 oz Sony walkman. A huge totalitarian system with all its tanks and guns, gulag camps and secret police was brought to its knees because nobody wants to wear Bulgarian shoes.” This isn’t to say everything is fine and go about your business, but rather have faith and keep at it.

    • #14
  15. FightinInPhilly Coolidge
    FightinInPhilly
    @FightinInPhilly

    And if you’re looking for something more specific: see Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt today:
    The uptick in the American birthrate. An all-time low of teen pregnancy. The US Energy boom. Private space craft. And a few of mine… The fact that the NY Times no longer sets the agenda. The fact that Walter Cronkite no longer closes a newscast with “and that’s the way it is.” The fact that we have an immigration debate became people want to emigrate here. The fact that the Little League World Series is two months away. That there is a website devoted to civil, witty, informed conversations so people can influence their leadership and each other. Cheer’s Ricochetti!  oh, and the fact there is a Philly MeetUp on June 11th! http://www.ricochetmeetup.com

    • #15
  16. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    FightinInPhilly:

    The problem we have as folks who are interested in politics is that we see everything thru that lens. The fact is the majority of the country ignores politics whenever possible.

    True.  And I’ve never figured out how to ignore politics, well, at least national politics.  Short of going unplugged, not sure I could if I wanted to.

    FightinInPhilly:

     This isn’t to say everything is fine and go about your business, but rather have faith and keep at it.

     That’s a good word.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Stephen Hall:

    You guys can recover. You always do.

    Yup.

     Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them. Britain has trembled like an ague at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats; and in the fourteenth [fifteenth] century the whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was performed by a few broken forces collected and headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, and save her fair fellow sufferers from ravage and ravishment! Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

    – Thomas Paine, The Crisis, December 23, 1776

    KeepCalm

    • #17
  18. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Derek Jeter.

    • #18
  19. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Knotwise the Poet:

    Fake John Galt:

    What is great about America? Everything but its leadership…

    The American people vote in that leadership, though. The leadership is a reflection of the American people. I was very disappointed that a majority of American voters decided to give Barack a second term.

    This gets to my moral and personal failing. One of many. I’m so disgusted and dispirited by the American people, I have trouble maintaining friendships, or even being around friends of friends who I feel ruined the country by supporting Obama and the Left.

    We have dear friends we’ve known since college. Our kids are similar in age and although we don’t agree on everything, we enjoy each other and share history. But they’re good friends with some really polished lefties (who know how skirt an argument). We all used to camp together with our kids and the whole deal. Now, when we talk about a weekend in mixed company, I just can’t imagine it. Why would I subject myself to their destructive leftist conceit? It would be torturous, and I’m too emotional to effectively defend the principles of our once great country. Heartbreaking. 

    • #19
  20. Badderbrau Member
    Badderbrau
    @EKentGolding

    Over the years I have worked with many foreigners with Green Cards , Visas, etc.   Overwhelmingly they loved living in America & loved America.   They embarrassed me by spending more time seeing America than I did,   and doing more American things.   They went  shooting and hunting with American friends.   They went boating, hiking, rock climbing.    They bought the cars , trucks, and motorcycles of their own choice and drove them fast on uncrowded roads. They expressed their opinions ,   and while polite,  told those who were belligerent to Go Away.  They raised their families in peace and freedom,  educating them as they saw fit  and  followed the Faith of their choice or no faith at all.

    Americans  need to open their eyes,  look around,  and protect the freedom and prosperity that has been given us to enjoy.

    • #20
  21. Masked Man Member
    Masked Man
    @MaskedMan

    The fact that you can still create your own private world — friends, small business, conversation, literature, sports, hobbies and interests, education — pretty much unmolested.

    • #21
  22. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    Western Chauvinist:
    This gets to my moral and personal failing. One of many. I’m so disgusted and dispirited by the American people, I have trouble maintaining friendships, or even being around friends of friends who I feel ruined the country by supporting Obama and the Left.

     That’s too bad.  You at least recognize that as a failing.  From what I’ve seen, it’s more likely to happen with liberals towards conservatives, but conservatives aren’t immune.

    • #22
  23. ParisParamus Inactive
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    Many Ricochetti will recall the period 1968-1980. Some may recall 1929-1945. Nobody will recall 1861-1865, but everyone will remember it.

    You guys can recover. You always do.

    I hope you’re right, but the destruction of the current administration in Washington–with the President reëlected, is destruction to the system, to the very infrastructure of our nation.  I don’t think the Civil War period counts; it’s not the modern era.  The Great Depression through the end of WWII arguably counts more, but the dangers, the damage being done now is internal and, again to the very “engineering of the building.”  It should only be of minimal solace that Europe, with it’s absurd EU, is doing even more damage to itself culturally and economically.

    So yes, the US is still a  great place, but the trend is extremely disturbing.  A wrecking ball doesn’t destroy and raze a large building instantly.  But when a wrecking ball is at work, that fath should be of little consolation. 

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    People still believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. that’s pretty good.

    • #24
  25. ParisParamus Inactive
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    “But Obama’s 2nd term election really did it for me.”

    No, the reelection….

    • #25
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.