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Norm Blackburn
America is the Best - or is it?
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        We as a nation have always prided ourselves as living in the best country in the world. We have almost all the freedom we can handle. We have the power to elect leaders we think will guide us into the future and the freedom to say and write what we think.
        But some say the idea of America as the world leader in commerce and democracy is fading fast. A nation that sends millions in aid to countries that have poverty and sickness and natural disasters is being seen as a bully and interloper where we are not wanted. We have the strongest and best equipped military that are scorned when we overthrow a despot or protect an ally.
        Being the most prosperous country on the world comes with its disadvantages. We are an easy target for those who want to undermine our influence around the world. America has the most advanced technological industry. People come here to train in our universities and businesses. We are the leader in medical and agricultural research. But some decry our industrial complex as self-serving and greedy. The free enterprise system that we employ to our advantage is criticized by those who say that we profit on the backs of the poor and the helpless.
        The irony is that most of these critics are right here in the good old USA. The organizations that claim to represent the people who are not prospering and those who are not in the position to make decisions for the country and the advancement of commerce draw attention by claiming that America has lost its leadership role in the world and is losing the label that America is the best.
        We are not referring here to the current economic slump or divided political atmosphere we live with at the moment. We are talking about the critics of our system who will make their voices heard despite our current condition. When things are going well, they say the United States should do more the help the less fortunate. When we find ourselves challenged by war or economic slowdown, they claim we have bad leadership and greedy stewards of business.
        Enough with the naysayers and hand wringers. Letís hear from the cheerleaders who stand up and defend our country. Letís give TV time and print space to those who point out the good things we have and are doing in the world. No self-serving speeches from polititions who just want to get re-elected, but pronouncements from respected people from business and labor and health and religious and nonprofit associations. Give them a bully pulpit to tell our own people to be proud they are Ameicans, to be proud we can be a helping nation, to be proud of our democracy and our freedoms, to be proud that America is the best.
        What is good about America far outweighs what is bad. And when we convince ourselves of that the whole world will listen.
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