Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hello, Irene.

As rains and winds and swirling vortexes of doom attack the East Coast, one wonders whether this is really the Promised Land that so many people talked about. Yes, it was the Land of Opportunity for many people who sought asylum for one reason or another, but was it really our Destiny to spread throughout the land and instill in our children the mantra of "sea to shining sea"?

What I'm referring to, of course, is the idea of Manifest Destiny. Now I'm a fan of being exceptional, if America actually. We don't lose out on poverty, we don't lose out on Natural Disasters, terrorist attacks, riots, and stupid politicians. What we do lose out on is something to bring the nation together, to something higher than our lives, something concrete. The only thing we have is tragedies like 9/11 (which, incidentally, should bring us together) but what would be truly exceptional is if we were able to unify while at rest, at peace. Anyone can see a common enemy, how many can see a common friend? Instead we become lazy, complacent and selfish. Even those who have a cause are often not even personally affected by the problem. We have no common pride in the good of our country except some vague notion that we're a cut above the rest, which apparently we're not. We happen to have less poverty than third world countries, and that means we must have done something right if our poor are richer than other nations' poor, but still, how long can we keep it up? We keep insisting that we have the answers, are on the intellectual high ground. That they just don't get it.

I think we have terrible self-esteem issues as a nation.

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