It’s been a small, but growing concern on both sides of the political divide in America— the question of whether or not America is permanently broken.
We’ve had some of the most brilliant moments in world history. We’ve got so much to be proud of. We had a revolution and created a national social experiment like the world had never seen. We weren’t created out of a language or an ethnicity, but an idea. An idea that all humans are free— free to vote, free to have their opinions and voices heard, free to have our own home, our own life, our own livelihood and our own dreams.
People from around the world continue to flood America’s borders, because they’ve heard it’s a place where you can start over. Give us your tired, your poor and your hungry, from all walks of life, all ages, all social strata and here, you have the promise that if you work hard enough and you’re a good enough person, you can live your dreams and the government will not infringe on your inalienable rights.
We’ve split the atom, we’ve conquered much of a continent, we’ve built great cities and hosted great feats of engineering, philosophy, literature, science and humanity. We were the first to plant our feet on another heavenly body, we invented the car and the airplane and the internet.
Certainly, there are far, far worse places in the world to live. But there are also far, far better.
At this point however, the world has opened up and there are myriad choices. Through our experiment in democracy and our push for freedom worldwide and the defense of that freedom through blood, other nations have thrown off the chains of tyranny. Kings and queens and dictators have fallen, people have gone from slaves and servants to become legendary. But right now, in the 21st century, we’re starting to gain focus on our greatness and we’re beginning to wonder where we will stand in the long lens of history. We are the Byzantine, Roman, Chinese, Mongol and British empires. When will era end and how will it come to and end?
So it seems like the right time to ask whether America is at this point, permanently broken. It’s not George W. Bush’s fault, it’s not Obama’s fault and neither Obama nor Romney can fix it. Our schools suck, our justice system sucks, our political system sucks, our healthcare system sucks and our financial system sucks. Are we still a nation of people with real hopes and dreams or are just a herd of mindless consumers, bred to spend?
There are still plenty of ways for people to go from poverty to wealth on the strength of their own talents, and that’s not something that will go away. Every day, there are inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs in America that have a great idea and a conviction and the ability to do great things and they make it. I would argue that we still have plenty of good days ahead of us— we’re on the verge of so many scientific and technological breakthroughs that would greatly improve the lives of millions and enhance our understanding of our world, and there’s no reason to disregard those accomplishments. Yet as a whole, our entire system seems now more geared towards making the rich richer and the poor poorer and more complacent. Give them enough hope to carry on, long enough to keep getting cars and credit cards and TVs and shampoo.
Is there any way to fix it? Or is America just broken?
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