Here's an idea I've been hearing lately, "The American century is over." And unless something changes we will not enjoy another. What is the "something" that needs to change?
It's how we cling to dead ideas. You see, dead ideas don't reflect new circumstances. And we are immersed in new circumstances. So I really can't say if this idea is dead but I do know there are many dead ideas floating about in our national narrative.
Just what are dead ideas? They are the ideas that shaped our lives but don't anymore. They contain what we could believe in, but no longer can. Here are a few:
A high school diploma equals a good paying job. Children will enjoy a better lifestyle than their parents. We are the best country in the world. All dead ideas!
Just take the last one, the "best country in the world." Let's see: We're 37th in healthcare quality. We rank 18th among thirty- six industrial nations ranked in education -- 27th in math. We hire most of our engineers and computer scientists from overseas. Northern European countries take the top 5 positions in quality of life. We rank 13th. I could go on and on but what's my point?
My point is that as long as we believe in dead ideas, we won't see our current condition. And only when we see our current condition can we take appropriate actions.
Our last president made it a point to tell the world, "you're with us or against us," putting the world on notice. Talk about dead ideas!
Our current president admitted some of our past actions did not always benefit our fellow inhabitants on the planet. The Political Right accused him of apologizing for America. Another idea dead on arrival.
The idea that dozens of sovereign nations should be for us and against everything else -- even their own best interests -- is as dead as it gets. Most people forget that we're just one of 192 sovereign nations in the United Nations.
I know, there are lots of people who say, "let's get out of the United Nations." And then what? Act as though we're not a part of the rest of the world? The worldwide economic collapse should convince us that, this too, is a dead idea.
Other countries are not automatically our enemies if they disagree with us. Dead idea. They are not intrinsically evil if they stand up for what they believe and we disagree. Dead idea.
I've visited several foreign countries. And I'm always impressed with how many people like us. But these same people wouldn't dream of trading places with us. They honestly like their lives as they are and love their countries as much as we love ours.
I know we have a waiting list of emigrants. But I suspect that if you checked where most of these people are coming from, you will find a list of oppressive governments, faltering economies and/or failed states. Of course, we're in better shape than them. But that's not saying much.
I'm not an America basher. I'm realist. I don't like dead ideas. Even though in many instances they are more comfortable -- more familiar. New ideas can be scary. As painful as it is to accept, when you believe in dead ideas, new solutions designed to solve new problems, look like "the ruination of the country."
When I read about how this or that politician is ruining the country, I ask the question: Does their solution fit the world we live in today. Or is it a idea that has been dead for a long time?