Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The six reasons why America will remain great

Today sees the end of what has been a tough and at times even vicious presidential campaign. With such serious issues at stake, it's understandable that much emotion is invested in this contest and its outcome. But we must be honest with ourselves. While today's election will determine our national leadership for the next four years, whoever wins, America will remain a great nation worthy our patriotism.

There are six nationally defining characteristics that explain why.

The first is Confidence. While the economic downturn has depressed short term optimism about the future, our enduring national confidence remains the envy of the world. Our affinity for confidence is one of our finest national traits. True, sometimes our optimism has more roots in fiction than in fact, but there is nothing bad in this. At worst, dreams are harmless fantasies, but at best, they are bold markers which encourage us (at times quite literally) to reach for the stars. Our confidence gives us the sustaining belief that our unending, challenging but rewarding journey of improvement and advancement is one worth taking.

The second is Commitment. Whether our commitment to the rule of law, to the ideals of freedom, or to each other, America is defined by commitment. American workers are among the most productive in the World. American athletes train and compete with incredible focus. American military personnel are the most relentless in the world. Americans don't like to give half-way effort or leave a task half complete.

The third is Community. Visitors to America are always struck by our national, state and local love of community. Whether in the national patriotism of flying a flag, or the simple act of supporting a school sports match, 'community' is central to our American identity. Our communities are the product of shared beliefs, shared interests and our shared respect for one another. In physical essence, Community is the physical expression of our national motto- 'E Pluribus Unum' 'Out of many, One'.

The fourth is Courage. Since the founding fathers rose to freedom by challenging the world's greatest empire, Americans have been defined by our courage. Since 9/11 we have seen abundant evidence that our national courage remains undiminished. From Todd Beamer to Mike Murphy and from Chesley Sullenberger to Wesley Autrey, American courage is alive and well. The reach of our courage extends not just to America, but also, as we see in Afghanistan today, to the acts of our citizens abroad.

The fifth is Creativity. Whether splitting the atom or developing the internet, inventing the plane or finding the cure for Polio, the Constitution or giving the world Elvis, in the short years of our young nation, America has lead the charge of human creativity. Across science, medicine, technology and culture, we drive forwards paying no heed to any obstacle except the limit of our own imaginations. This is a spirit with a motto - 'No limit on ideas, no lid on possibilities'.

The sixth is Compassion. Whether saving lives around the world after natural disasters, protecting Iraqis and Afghans from violent extremists or leading global efforts to train and improve the professionalism of foreign security forces, every day, the US Military provides a clear and undeniable expression of American compassion. Joined with USAID, American taxpayers provide critical support to strangers in great need. But these examples don't even begin to tell the whole story of American compassion. Taking into account private action, Americans are the most charitable of all the citizens of the world. The simple fact - both at the level of continents and individuals, Americans have been, are and always will be defined by our compassion. The combination of our unparalleled strength and our unequaled compassion makes our country an incredible force for good.

Sure, tonight is important. But we always need to always remember that ultimately, America's greatness finds its infinite source in the character of our decent and honorable people. Whatever happens tonight, this won't change.


  1. Remember that Al Gore invented the internet, not "Americans" ;-) Great post.