Where America goes, does the Free World follow? Believe it, or not. Sometimes, though, I get the feeling that our neighbors to the North, South, and most of Europe and other areas of the world, have either forgotten or are ignoring, to their own detriment, a very important fact of history. And that is, to a very large extent the people living in these places are able to sleep reasonably peacefully, reasonably safe and secure, under the protective cover of the blanket of the political/military strength of the United States of America. Mainly because of this shield of armor that the United States has provided, the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Hirohitos, the Bin Ladens and all the other Johnny-come-lately tyrants and would be assassins of recent times, were prevented from making progress towards taking control of these lands. Only because of the fear of retaliation from the "sleeping giant", were these places often spared from attack, possible defeat and a cruel dictatorship establishment. It would be a mistake to deny this.
I have a Canadian friend who visits the Coachella valley desert every summer, and rents a house across the street from me. Why he comes during the high temperature time of year, no one knows. The "snowbirds" come in the winter from Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, to get away from the cold. This person has some other agenda I guess. But year round, even when this person is in the desert, he sends anywhere from 3 to 6 e-mails a day. I don't read them. The reason? Over half of them are aimed at belittling and criticizing the government of the U.S. It's not that our elected representatives don't deserve some animosity and even anger aimed their way at times. But coming from someone who chooses our country and its safe and secure blessings to vacation in, and whose own country has its unique internal problems, to hear him rant about what's wrong with America, unceasingly, that is the height of arrogance. He has lost sight of why he is able to come here and who is responsible for that right and privilege. When is the last time you heard or read of a citizen of another country who stood up and defended the United States?
These are tough times for the America. Things aren't going as well as we would like. But history has shown that we were "always there" when others were in need, whether it was food and medical supplies in natural disasters, or invading troops, or simply our imposing presence, we have historically been willing to jump in, ready to lend a hand. But it seems to me that when even a simple thank you would be in order, so often America gets only an angry, critical response from countries that always have a hand out when they are in need. We don't expect, nor ask for, constant bow-downs and reminders of past favors. But at the same time, can't we expect simple, courteous recognition on occasion.
I like to think that America is still a good country, that most of the population have decent values, that they are willing to work hard, pay their way and their share, and want peace and the opportunity for them and their children to live their lives without undue restrictions. That dream may be fading. But let us not be too quick to give up on our country. And let's not simply hang our head and agree when others bad mouth our homeland. The rise of America may be over, that depends on your vantage point, but the fall is hopefully a long way off.