It’s the day before the Fourth of July. Those of you who are Americans will be preparing to celebrate the independence of one of the great countries of the world. I can’t really go into all that makes America great. It would take more than this one blog post, and it would take an entirely different kind of blog.
But, this blog is about a view FROM Israel, and that I can give.
I don’t know about you, but when I went to University, I distinctly remember more than one professor telling us young whelps that to really understand what it means to be American, you need to live abroad for two years.
I remember my reaction. Here I was, born and raised in white-bread America – Indiana, a heartland of the American way of life. I was middle-class and educated. I was Christian. I conformed to all the important standards that were quintessentially American. I didn’t need to go to some foreign country to understand who and what I was. I was American, and I knew what that meant.
Well, that’s what I thought then.
Now, more than twenty years later, I know better. That professor was right. I really did not know what it meant to be American. It really did take living abroad for two years (to date, 14)Â to understand what was great and unique about America.
You will undoubtedly have the same reaction that I did. I don’t blame you, and it’s hard to find the words to convince you otherwise -Â except to say that I was borne from the same mold as you.
However, I have found that America’s greatness cannot be viewed from within. She’s too big. She is too vast. Her power is too great. Like all things great in this world, you must view America from afar. You must view her as others view her.
America is truly the most awesome country that the world has ever created. She has risen from the sea of humanity and represents the greatest aspirations of mankind.
But, that awesomeness is under threat, and America has a poor track record in dealing with threats – at least threats like this one. Like the threats of yesteryear, she will respond slowly, and when she does respond… well, let’s just say that America often lacks finesse.
That’s okay. Finesse is an often overrated commodity. The French are totally into Finesse, and look at where it’s gotten them.Â The problem is that subtlety and delicacy may be the only way out of the mess that we are in.
Unfortunately, not getting it right willÂ have repercussions. And, that is what scares me most. The war against terror was left to the last minute, and the American government hasÂ fumbled far too many times. As the barbarians knock at the gates, America will continue to fumble because sheÂ is ill-prepared to meet this kind of threat.
Eventually, she will beÂ forced to accept the unacceptable. If America continues to tinker on the margins, instead of fighting against the root of the terrorist problem, AmericaÂ and Americans will beÂ forced sacrifice those qualities and freedoms that made her great.
America is truly the greatest country that has ever appeared upon the face of the earth, but I fear that her greatness is of the past – and not the future.Â