Today will be short and sweet, and as politically charged as possible, as any writing would be the morning after the final Presidential debate. I am proud to be an American. I pay my taxes. I work hard. I invest. I contribute. I nurture relationships. I travel the world. As it turns out, nothing pisses me off more than Americans who think that we (the country) are the center of the universe.
It’s great that we live in a country where we’re incredibly blessed that our difficult decisions involve purchasing one massive SUV or the other, deciding on which baseball team will win the World Series (Tigers), and even what type of wine to buy. I’m not saying those things are all bad, and there are plenty of well-developed countries that enjoy such privileges. However, that does not make us the end-all of the world, and certainly doesn’t establish our permanent place in the universe.
Rome once enjoyed being the center of the universe as well, and look how that ended up. I’m not predicting the end of the United States but we cannot keep living with the assumption that we will solve the world’s problems and continue to be the diamond in the rough that is a treasure to the globe.
During the debate, President Obama said that the United States is an indispensable country to the world. I nearly gagged when I heard that. I have spent a very significant amount of time outside of the United States, tackling five different countries on three different continents, and what has always amazed me is how awesome, unique, and just different the other countries are. They aren’t necessarily better or worse (some struggle economically or with corruption still) but that doesn’t make them inferior. I firmly believe that the United States already has too many fingers in too many pies, and that statement by the President just sealed the deal.
As someone who has access to the world’s most sophisticated plane, you would think he would use it to take the time to explore other countries and understand their cultures and their impact on the world. It’s fine to think the U.S. is a great place to live, but saying that we are indispensable is like the employee that thinks they are indispensable. It’s bullsh#t!! There is nothing more naive, egotistical, and uneducated than assuming that you cannot be replaced. In the real world, the moment any company assumes they’ve arrived and they can’t be knocked off their high horse, they’re done.
Frankly, I found the President’s comments grounded in a very ignorant ideology. The man is very smart, just like every other President, but he missed the critical factor that each and every one of the 195 countries on the globe contribute in some way to how the others all interact. The world is a large place, and assuming we are the ones who can never be replaced is a poor and unwise assumption.
Certainly there is no perfect candidate for President… ever. It is sad that so many citizens vote for a leader of a country based on trivial things, or worse yet, that they don’t vote for someone based on the mud slung by someone else. Presidents have far too much to deal with and are inundated with too much information. That does not, however, excuse them from being ideal global citizens. Really, the expectations that we put on them may be far-fetched but that is how our system runs at the moment.