Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The real power of America - See Update

Much has been written about the USA and its place in the world. It seems we have polarized and alienated our friends, while uniting our enemies. The Administration tells us what to believe and how to feel and admonishes us for feeling or thinking differently. Many wonder as to the real strength, reach and power of the United States, especially in light of recent comments about Iran and whether we should stop the Iranians from building Nuclear bombs by a preemptive strike. Some suggest militarily it is an impossible task as our intelligence is weak and we can't possibly get them all and it would only postpone the inevitable, while angering the Iranians and the rest of the Middle East in the process.

And so the dialogue goes on unabated with no progress made in any and all fronts. But I have concluded we are looking at the wrong things and using the wrong metrics for how we are doing. I recently saw the documentary on the 50 year anniversary of the writing of Profiles in Courage by JFK. I was inspired by him and read his book several times. I knew of the Award recipients and the true courage they displayed on behalf of a better country in the face of great odds and possible personal harm to them.

When I look back at the Kennedy years I remember the Peace Corps, the Civil Rights quest for millions of Americans and the plan to put an astronaut on the Moon. These all have something in common: the nurturing of hope. And when I think about America's power, it has always been that we were looked at by many people around the world as the country that gave them hope for a better life, the country that inspired them to see what was possible and to believe in the goodness of mankind. That was the real power of the United States. That has been lost the past 6 years, although in the best days of the Clinton Administration, it was there too.

So what is the solution to this dilemma. We must regain the admiration of the world again. We must turn the clock back on the acceptance of torture as an approved method of interrogation of prisoners. We must always choose diplomacy over war or preemptive strikes and we must always be willing to look at what others in public office do in our name and we must hold them accountable even when they come from our midst. This is what the Republican party has forgotten. Thank God every day voters haven't forgotten because they will be speaking loudly this November. And to quote a phrase George Bush used while standing on the embers and rubble at the site of the World Trade Center with bull horn in hand, when Mr. Bush tried to speak, the crowd kept shouting, “We can’t hear you.”

The president responded: “I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” And I end this post with a similar phrase, "the rest of the world will hear our voices through the ballot in November. We must return hope to the world. It isn't with the "Might" of the United States, it's with being "Right" with the world and providing leadership through example that will turn people to Democracy! And it is with your voice that this transformation can start. Wake up America, Speak up and Vote! Register to Vote if you haven't, otherwise you have no right to complain. And yes it takes courage to speak out and to question authority as JFK has said. But it's good for the country and therefore you must.

UPDATE: Aug. 31, 2006

Yesterday, in an interview from a Blogger, Tom Friedman of the NY Times made a similar point about real American power. Here it is and if you want to read the entire interview go to this web site.

Tom Friedman: "We've also really, in this war on terrorism...gone from a country that exported hope, that was seen as the country most important to the world in exporting hope, in the feeling that tomorrow can be better than yesterday and that the future can bury the past, to a country that exports fear. When you export fear, you import everyone else's fears. And we need to get back to being the America that exports hope, not fear."


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