Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Good of America


Pessimists need not apply...

Editor's Note: This is a re-post of a rant I did about a month ago. I bring it back just to gain a measure of levity into the blog. The themes have been as heavy as a yoke lately, a lot of soul-searching between myself and the gracious visitors to my site. I know many ills still afflict mother America,.. but just for today lets celebrate the preponderance of good that we are blessed with.

One of the reasons you don't hear too much good positive news on the cable shows, the network news and (my least favorite) self-important blogs, is because negativity sells. Sensationalism catches the eye. With sex, drugs, political scandals, blow-hards on the left and right, and flying human limbs coming at you in HDTV quality then who needs good news? Who wants to hear about the good of a Mother Theresa, the men and woman of our military building schools in Iraq, pro-bono lawyers doing good work for the less fortunate and good congressmen writing salient legislation when you can have 4 pandemics-a-gettin', 3 tornadoes-a-destroyin', 2 suicide bombers-a-flyin' and an Illegal in a pear tree (uh... picking pears of course). Well, not being one to shy away from ruining the day of the "the world is coming to an end" crowds here and abroad, I humbly submit to you my top ten reasons why America Rocks!
(DANGER: continuing this read may give you fuzzy feelings, happy joy-joy smiles and a severe case of optimism. We are not responsible for changes in your perspective or voting habits.)

1. More people want to break INTO America than are trying to jump out.
Even when somebody PROMISES to leave the country should this person or that person get elected,... they still stay!.. amazing.

2. Two massive hurricanes in 2005, 2 wars abroad, and still the economy booms.
What a country! I know this is going to get a few comments on the social injustice, the minimum wage, the outsourcing of jobs, the poverty, the sick, the this and that. Reality check. Its called CAPITALISM. It will never be a Gene Roddenberry Utopia. A small percentage of the populace will still fall through the crack no matter how little the crack is (that should be a rap song...) . There will always be unemployment no matter how little a percentage, there will always be ills to cure, mouths to feed and issues of concern. But compare our way of life, our economic might against anybody in the planet. Its not even close.

3. Freedom of speech and discourse!
Self-explanatory by the medium you are reading at the moment. Americans enjoy the greatest amount of venues in which to vent their frustrations than anybody else (give or take a few Nordic countries I guess..) The number of countries who enjoy this liberty is not as large as it should be.

4. 230 years old!, a baby in world perspective, and look where we are.
Think about those 1000-year old cultures and countries that look at us in disbelief and envy. There is a reason we are the "great democratic experiment". In two centuries we broke the back of Communism and the Soviet Bloc, put a man on the moon, discovered cures for diseases, gave the world the internet (give Gore the credit, see if I care...) spread democracy to places far and wide (I can hear it now...), swindled the indians out of their own land (ooops, sorry!), bought the Louisiana territory for a pittance, explored the west in horse-back, and in saving Europe's ass (twice) from self-implossion, the only " imperialism" land grab of note was keeping just enough hill-sides to bury tens of thousands of our beloved dead. Love it or hate it, we enjoy a position of leadership never before enjoyed by a nation of such youth.

5. Can you say Blues, Jazz, Baseball, Basketball, the Automobile, Computers, etc?
This list can be 1000 miles long. The contribution of the American know-how to the planet's well being can't be measured. The gains in medicine, technology, transportation, food distribution, ... there is a reason that most of what China does is a take-off of US technological prowess. The inventions of note gathered outside the US can be counted in few hands.

6. The BEST health care in the world. Period.
Whether its fair, cheap, available to all is a subject unto itself and a topic for another heavy day. Don't believe me? Try getting a appointment to see a Doctor in Canada. Its easier to get your dog cared for than yourself. Where would you like to have YOUR spleen removed... here?... or in Istanbul?

7. TV. Over 600 channels of everything from the sublime to the mundane.
In 15 minutes of your time you can surf from Disney cartoons to porn. (sorry, free speech folks!) We may not like everything on the menu, but the menu is robust.

8. Our giving, our non-profits, our help organizations.
Name one country with more world volunteers, more funding for diseases and special causes, more non-profits for habitats AND habitation, more foreign aid (and believe me, it hurts me to mention the foreign aid bit)

9. America the Beautiful
(... the fruited plane is not a Limbaugh invention folks...) Valleys, lakes, ocean coasts, marshes, forests, canyons, deserts, rivers, mountain ranges, 4 seasons, fauna, wildlife, national parks, and (my daughter's favorite) shopping malls.

10. The fact that a simple man like me, of humble origins, non-humble views, many faults and un-perfect in life can have a forum to say this, right here and right now is a living testament that in spite of all the daily grumbling of our state of affairs, we have it better than anybody else, period. We have "miles to go before we sleep" and can't diminish our faults and mistakes... but lets just take today to celebrate the good of America. There is always tomorrow to complain.
(p.s. I've changed my mind (Blame the citizens of Binghamton, NY) ...the complaints department is now open people,... but only after you've spent 5 minutes smiling :)

16 comments:

betmo said...

i admire your enthusiam and the intent of your blog post- so i will refute some of the stuff at another place and another time. :) thanks for the sentiment- and i really am going to change my voting card to independent. :)

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo: Far be it for me to stiffle any retort or freedom of expression :)... go ahead and tell me what you feel. I think I made my intent and points to my satisfaction.
Hear ye! Hear ye! Comments are now open for business as usual,... bombs away!

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo: I even added a post-script at the bottom of the post to please you, a newly independent voter, yes!!

Anonymous said...

No complaints? what kind of fun is that (lol!) If you knew who THIS was you would die Truth-Pain. Nice name, where'd you get it? great blog, I had no idea you had it in you :)

betmo said...

ok- you asked for it. i agree with you that we all need some good news once in awhile. anne murray's song comes to mind-"sure could use a little good news today." you won't get an arguement here. i think we all should have a balance in our lives and in our government. when the government is balanced- we have no need for worrying about the stuff in your first paragraph. i am not going to argue here about the various points that you bring up- because these are your top ten reasons that america rocks and you are entitled to them. some of the stuff under the headings- i would knitpick at though- and i can do that at a different time.

right now- i think that we all should reflect on the basic principles that america was based on- not the made up neo con crap about religion and reworking the constitution to fit their vision- but the real america that tp has pointed out in his post.

Truth-Pain said...

forgot one..
11. The poeple. I love my fellow Americans. I love their gift of putting all aside in emergencies and times of crisis, I love that for the most part we can chat, talk and do our critical thinking via the polling booth and not via EID's. I love that in spite of EVERYTHING that goes wrong every day, we find a way to look at the better side of things. I love that I can be diametrically opposed to a liberal in Nantucket yet am able to exchange ideas, topics, fodder and wish him or her good night, and mean it.
Call my a corny-assed nationalist flag waver, whatever,.. but besides the love of my woman and my daughter, what else do I have?... That my Idealism for ya'... I have all of you. And that is not a bad thing.

Truth-Pain said...

Betmo: on that we do agree fully,.. no ideology, no matter left or right, that preaches the vestiges of its fringe elements should be allowed to hi-jack what is best about us... not the left or the right. What the hell is wrong with the center, anyway?... (trust me...i'll get grief from my libertarian friends about THAT!)

Devos Carlos said...

Great blog.

betmo said...

i'll be the one shaking hands with you in the center as an independent :) great 11th by the way.

Truth-Pain said...

Devos: (is that your last name or first?...)
Welcome to casa de Truth-pain. Your comments and further exploration is always welcomed.

Betmo: The middle is not the flames of hades that most in the right wing have made it out to be. Rush Limbaugh says that to be in the middle is not to have any conviction in your conservative beliefs. I respectfully dis-agree with him in that notion. Politics is the art of compromise, the grand market of self-government ideas... a place where we ALL can have at least SOME of what we really want, and agree to let someone else have some of theirs as well.

betmo said...

tell that to your fellow publius :) truth-pain wanted me to post my observations on his 10 wonderful things about america- so i will try:

One of the reasons you don't hear too much good positive news on the
cable shows, the network news and (my least favorite) self-important
blogs, is because negativity sells. Sensationalism catches the eye. With
sex, drugs, political scandals, blow-hards on the left and right, and
flying human limbs coming at you in HDTV quality then who needs good
news? Who wants to hear about the good of a Mother Theresa, the men and
woman of our military building schools in Iraq, pro-bono lawyers doing
good work for the less fortunate and good congressmen writing salient
legislation when you can have 4 pandemics-a-gettin', 3
tornadoes-a-destroyin', 2 suicide bombers-a-flyin' and an Illegal in a
pear tree (uh... picking pears of course). Well, not being one to shy
away from ruining the day of the "the world is coming to an end" crowds
here and abroad, *I humbly submit to you my top ten reasons why America
Rocks!
*(DANGER: continuing this read may give you fuzzy feelings, happy
joy-joy smiles and a severe case of optimism. We are not responsible for
changes in your perspective or voting habits.)

**

*i agree that sensationalism sells. as for the military rebuilding
iraq- not quite-

*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/02/AR2006010200370.html
I mentioned soldiers helping rebuild schools, some even on their own time, i never mentioned the grander topic of rebuilding Iraq.

you'll have to give me an example of 'good' legislation because the
congress has been passing secret legislation lately
This -to be honest- was a conceptual statement. With all the legislators vying for the camera, there HAS to be a few that are there for just the right reasons. To write good laws and make pragmatic decisions. The reason we dont hear about it?... circular argument,.. good news is not sexy and nobody wants to hear it. I will look for some just to make my point in large, not to water-down your retort.

this was over email- so do the best you can. thanks tp

*
*

*1.* *More people want to break INTO America than are trying to jump out*.
Even when somebody PROMISES to leave the country should this person or
that person get elected,... they still stay!.. amazing.

yes- but now no one wants to let them in- even though helping people in
need is a good thing- legally i mean
This is way bigger of a subject I can tackle, but legal? yes. I am for legal immigration and the reformatting of the state departments arcaine way of deciding who comes in and who doesnt.... illegal? I am totally against it. I have quite a few postings bordering on shrill that although sound xenophobic are well meaning. The legal and moral arguments are both mutually exclusive. I wish we would not lump them together. Yes, we should help the poor and the needy (read my post "Why a fence wont work"). But even Jesus said obey the laws of Ceasar. We cant have it both ways.

*2.* *Two massive hurricanes in 2005, 2 wars abroad, and still the
economy booms*.
What a country! I know this is going to get a few comments on the social
injustice, the minimum wage, the outsourcing of jobs, the poverty, the
sick, the this and that. Reality check. Its called CAPITALISM. It will
never be a Gene Roddenberry Utopia. A small percentage of the populace
will still fall through the crack no matter how little the crack is
(that should be a rap song...) . There will always be unemployment no
matter how little a percentage, there will always be ills to cure,
mouths to feed and issues of concern. But compare our way of life, our
economic might against anybody in the planet. Its not even close.

yes- i have posted several posts about us as americans having more money
than sense. but that doesn't mean that we should ignore the other
facets completely. not that we should be inundated but problems are
problems. we can't deal with what we don't know and it is better that
people are shaken out of their suburban fantasy lands once in awhile to
understand that while we are a rich country- we still have need.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060603/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy;_ylt=AlCbXdjYYOFUwQg8_k6YrNuyBhIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060602/bs_nm/economy_dc;_ylt=ArSD2ns3_YyyFjs5hpzfVTayBhIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM
4.6 % unemployment. That says is better that any posting you can send me. Name me a country within 4 percentage points. We are a miracle of economic growth. There are ebbs and tides in any economic cycle. For every link you send me on the "Bush Economy" I can find you 10 of "doom and gloom" during Clintons dot com era... (and that was trully a bubble disaster waiting to happen).
The washington post is not exactly a paragon of objective reporting.

*3.* *Freedom of speech and discourse!*
Self-explanatory by the medium you are reading at the moment. Americans
enjoy the greatest amount of venues in which to vent their frustrations
than anybody else (give or take a few Nordic countries I guess..) The
number of countries who enjoy this liberty is not as large as it should be.

http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/localmedia.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality#History_and_current_status_of_Congressional_bill


something like 98% of the media outlets are owned by 2 or 3 companies in
this country. clear channel anyone?
Before clear channel and Fox, most of the media was liberal for the last 60 years. Why weren't progressives or liberals concerned about diversity then? Did the country go to hell in a handbasket? Of course not. So fox is number 1? so what! you add NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN ratings and the majority of the liberal tended media still smokes Fox numbers-wise.

*4.* *230 years old!, a baby in world perspective, and look where we are*.
Think about those 1000-year old cultures and countries that look at us
in disbelief and envy. There is a reason we are the "great democratic
experiment". In two centuries we broke the back of Communism and the
Soviet Bloc, put a man on the moon, discovered cures for diseases, gave
the world the internet (give Gore the credit, see if I care...) spread
democracy to places far and wide (I can hear it now...), swindled the
indians out of their own land (ooops, sorry!), bought the Louisiana
territory for a pittance, explored the west in horse-back, and in saving
Europe's ass (twice) from self-implossion, the only " imperialism" land
grab of note was keeping just enough hill-sides to bury tens of
thousands of our beloved dead. Love it or hate it, we enjoy a position
of leadership never before enjoyed by a nation of such youth.

i am not touching this one- i'd be here all night.
Why not?...i was just getting on a roll :)

*5.* *Can you say Blues, Jazz, Baseball, Basketball, the Automobile,
Computers, etc?*
This list can be 1000 miles long. The contribution of the American
know-how to the planet's well being can't be measured. The gains in
medicine, technology, transportation, food distribution, ... there is a
reason that most of what China does is a take-off of US technological
prowess. The inventions of note gathered outside the US can be counted
in few hands.


because we used to have the freedom to be innovative and explore new
fields. the biggest field i can see that has been stunted these days-
science. many scientists have moved oversees because the christian
right has influenced many facets of the scientific community- most
notable stem cell research- but others as well.
In this i agree.. the religious entry into the R&D discourse is stupid and dangerous.

*6.* *The BEST health care in the world*.* Period.*
Whether its fair, cheap, available to all is a subject unto itself and a
topic for another heavy day. Don't believe me? Try getting a appointment
to see a Doctor in Canada. Its easier to get your dog cared for than
yourself. Where would you like to have YOUR spleen removed... here?...
or in Istanbul?



i actually just posted about this the other day.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060530/wl_canada_nm/canada_usa_canada_col;_ylt=AoqeIIokXkVXJzNMMPQgzitvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA
Again, the premise of my opinion is based on a myriad of article, anecdotal information AND my ex girlfriend who is of Canadian citizenship. Not every thing you read (no matter the topic) can be considered a fully objective trui-ism.

*7.* *TV. Over 600 channels of everything from the sublime to the mundane*.
In 15 minutes of your time you can surf from Disney cartoons to porn.
(sorry, free speech folks!) We may not like everything on the menu, but
the menu is robust.


very true. it is a bunch of repeat channels and crap- but at least it
is only marginally controlled and policed by the fcc.
http://www.fcc.gov/parents/content.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/graphics/web-fcc970.html
I agree with you there.

*8.* *Our giving, our non-profits, our help organizations*.
Name one country with more world volunteers, more funding for diseases
and special causes, more non-profits for habitats AND habitation, more
foreign aid (and believe me, it hurts me to mention the foreign aid bit)


http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/12/28/national/main1167079.shtml
http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/gag0511.php
See, although i dont want to take away your links as assertive examples of your views, for every article you can link to buttress your point, so can anyone else with opposite view. Thats why i never put article links in my postings (except references to other blogs). One can get anything to back up our statement and at the end of the say is article vs. article and not anything else.

*9.* *America the Beautiful*
(... the fruited plane is not a Limbaugh invention folks...) Valleys,
lakes, ocean coasts, marshes, forests, canyons, deserts, rivers,
mountain ranges, 4 seasons, fauna, wildlife, national parks, and (my
daughter's favorite) shopping malls.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40670-2005Mar16.html
Read above.

*10.* The fact that a simple man like me, of humble origins, non-humble
views, many faults and un-perfect in life can have a forum to say this,
right here and right now is a living testament that in spite of all the
daily grumbling of our state of affairs, we have it better than anybody
else, period. We have "miles to go before we sleep" and can't diminish
our faults and mistakes... but lets just take today to celebrate the
good of America. There is always tomorrow to complain.


i completely agree with your sentiment. i would hope that we would all
take a moment of balance and i have a feeling that we do. my thought is
all of the things that you mentioned are slowly going away- and even if
we take a momentary break- we have to resume the fight again. this
isn't friendly debating politics- it is a fight for a way of life that
is being taken away from us while we pretend that it is not. i feel a
bit like john the baptist sometimes(yes- i am using a biblical reference
left over from my baptist days) a lone voice crying out in the
wilderness. this government is not benevolent and it is not for the
people. there are not many good things about it and we have to fight to
change it to preserve 230 years of the united states of america.

one last link- sounds like this is what you have a case of:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism
I think to be a nationalist is not necessarily a negative implication to my persona. Unfortunately (for me) it does bellow to right wing thinking and images that have been corrupted by the events of history. Yes, I am a nationalist. If the country was invaded yesterday I would don the uniform and defend my land and my people regardless of whether or not they liked me before i got there. I believe in the interaction of the world to work towards better things. But I am not a globalist as espoused by the latest world unity movement. Sorry, Star Trek is a nice clean prism of communism and socialism to me,... none of those being mantras I support.
If the word Nationalist is seared on my head-stone?... well, there are other that would be worse in my view.

Truth-Pain said...

A note: Betmo was kind enough to send me the above comments to my private e-mail so as to respect my initial wishes of making this a positive-thought day. After reading and replying to her privately, I encouraged her to post the entire thing as she saw fit.
I had my say in the post, why not let her have her full say as well:)

Betmo, like i said privately, if everybody took even cursory time to inquire into things as you do we all would be better citizens for it. Great comments!. I thank you kindly for a great interchange.

Always On Watch said...

Truth-Pain,
A grest way for me to start this beautiful Sunday morning!

I know that America is not perfect, but we do need to remember how good we've got it here.

So glad that you added Number 11. In times of crisis, we usually see the best qualities of Americans. I wish that we could hold onto those qualities every single day.

Truth-Pain said...

AOW:
Always a pleasure to read your comments. Glad to know my posting made your day!
I think i am going to add number 11 in there.. it may be the one I care about most :)

5th Estate said...

I'm sorry T_P but you need to provide some sources for your broad assertions. That was a long post and I'd like to respond completely and right now but of course I have my own agenda ( not quite sure what it is yet of course--it's the liberal curse!).Here's a few things you might want to investigate:

How does the US infant mortality rate compare to similarly industrialized/urbanized nations (i.e. European nations.

WHat is the immigration rate ( legal or otherwise) to the US these days compared to the EU ( being roughly equivalent in population and contiguous landmass. political structure?

230 years of acummulated wisdom and the US (like the UK) still can't administer Afghanistan, nor colonise Iraq--way to go, USA!
And BTW read your history... the founding father's of America were British and progressive a significant cut above the entrenched power brokers--thinkers and optiomists , but not full blossomed from the soil of the US, untouched by their own history.

WWI wasn't "won" by the US and it's entry into the war had nothing to do securing "freedom: and everything to do with politics (the whole war was about that of course!). DId you notice that the Russian revolution occurred in 1917? And despite being relieved of the Eastern front the Germans still couldn't sustain the war they had started? US troops in force only showed up after the trench lines were being broken by british-invented tanks. And what size was the US force? At the end of the war? Yes the US helped, but not much, in fact fuck-all. American individuals played their part and bravely, but for all the flags and hoopla, they showed up eager and late and served unwittingly political interests.

As for WW II the US really did save the UK and thus Europe, after sitting on it's ass from 39 to actually 42. But until Dec 194I the US wasn't at war. The US helped the UK stay alive and in oppossition but it was only the Japanes strike on Pearl HArbour and the concomitant alliance with Germany that brought the US into the war. Japan attacked US territory ( in the middle of the pacific), officially declared war on the US the next day, US responded, Germany declared war on the US due to a pact with Japan so the US declared war on Germany in response. Freedom and morality had little to do with it.
And the first US engagement against the Germnas was in North Africa (Operation Torch) where the US ignored the offered British experience and got creamed.
America was essential to victory in WII, but that victory was a colloborative effort. The Norden bomb-sight was American, but radar was British. The P-51 was a great airframe but a mediocre plane until it was equipped with a British engine licensed to Allison.
The British also invented pre-war the steam catapult, arrestor hooks and mirror landing systems that are still used today that the US very sensibly exploited to challenge and defeat Japan. The Pacific War is something the US can justifiably claim as being an essentially a US victory. The US went from early defeats to ultimate victory, a great cost with minimal practical assistance.

Since WWII the Korean War has been a draw, the Vietnam War was a loss(remember the helo's evacuating refugees from saigon and the dumpin of equipment into the sea?) Lebanon? Reagan bailed. Mogadishu? Clinton bailed. Iran hostages? That failed under Carter, but using equipment and tactics/training/maintenance provided by Nixon.
Greneda? No real resistance. Noriega in Panama? Actually quite a mess: read the first person reports.
Desertg storm> 1991? Backed up a significant coalition.
Frankly the last time the US succeeded on their own was against the phillipines. And the last time they had a relevant success was was WWII. The US really does "own" the Pacific War.Oh, and the War of Independence of course-- a guerrilla war fought woth few resources and a lot of intellgence.
Funny how lately those aspects have been transposed.

Sorry T-P... you have to do better in the blogosphere forum than the US military has donein the real world. At least we get to fight another day.

Truth-Pain said...

5th Estate,...
I could retort point to point... but I enojoyed your posting so much, (and I seriously mean that) that I will leave it untouched. I think yours is not necessarily a retort but a view from your coastline,... and just as valid. I don't want to diminish your thoughts with rhetorical or further subjectivity.
If the purpose of my post was to gain a different perspective, another view and a reputable challenge to my assertions, then I feel i've accomplished that. Thank you.