The World's Greatest

In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about America falling from it's current place of ultimate power in the world. The current financial crisis coupled with America's ever-decreasing prestige worldwide has led many to believe the end of the American Era is upon us, and I can't disagree. The rising power of developing nations around the world cannot be ignored, and neither can our own relative stagnation. We, as a nation, have to face the future without our current "USA #1" attitude. We have to begin cooperating, not just coercing.

We are an isolated nation. We don't have the constant influx of ideas and people from bordering nations the way the European Union does. It's easy to forget the world is small when you are oceans away from the rest of it. But technology has broken down the remaining barriers between countries, and turned boundaries into just meaningless lines on paper. This doesn't just open the tourism market to a million more camera-toting-fannypack-wearing families, but also has opened us to an unprecedented opportunity for cooperation. The only way we can more forward is by cooperation, even with our enemies. In this new, small world where communication takes place instantly and ideas are coming from every corner of the globe, there is no room for nationalism.

And so we must establish a new patriotism. Not dedication to one's country, but to people in general. A dedication to making life better for everyone, because now more than ever, our similarities shine through. Despite the many differences in the world, we are after the same things fundamentally. As JFK said, "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal."

Helping people can and should be the basis of policy. But before it can manifest in government, mankind has to accept the fact that working together for the common good isn't just a crackpot idea founded in Marxism. It's, really, all that matters. Yeah, we have ourselves all worked up about car insurance and cellphones and all those other society imposed matters of importance, but when everything is said and done, they don't matter. Centuries from now, no one is going to care if you had comprehensive auto insurance. Putting an end of suffering will matter. Who won Dancing with the Stars won't matter. Saving children from starvation will matter. And the only way this can be accomplished is by working with the world, not swooping in like Superman to right the wrongs of society singlehandedly.

Americans need to realize not everything is a competition. Pitting ourselves against the world by using the "us-against-them" rhetoric of the War on Terror is counterproductive, and only further isolates us in our selfish nationalism. It's okay to reach out to those who don't share our ideology, or our way of life, or our values. It's okay to say, "You have something we don't." If our politicians are celebrated for reaching "across the aisle" and working together, why can't that be applied on a global level? Until we do so, we'll continue losing important ground.

1 comment:

Phill said...

Completely right and completely eloquent, a great entry in a blog if not more a manifesto of peace. Good job.

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