The country has had its hand in so many different issues for the better part of a decade. The war in Afghanistan turned into the war in Iraq which triggered the country-wide fear of terrorism. That fear of terrorism created a whole new division of intelligence that kept the public pre-occupied with warning colors and airport pat-downs as well as arguments on where Mosques can or can’t go.
When you combine those issues with financial corruption, political deception, and natural disasters absolutely devastating the Gulf region, it’s pretty hard to focus on issues that plague our entire generation.
That’s why it was so pleasant to hear President Obama return the focus to domestic issues that I grew up on, making America a place to be proud of. When I was growing up in the '80s and '90s, America had a history of being a dominant superpower that won most wars, introduced ground breaking inventions, and had the most effective and modern form of government.
I think that we’ve been riding this wave for so long now, few of us have stepped back to see that we are not that country anymore. The President recently alerted us to this fact in his State of the Union Address. What the President was trying to say, as gently as he could, is that America doesn’t do anything all that special anymore.
If one were to look at how we’re fairing in foreign policy, industrial growth, and Government relevance, it would be a bleak assessment. Compared to what we used to accomplish, it looks like we’ve been standing still for the past thirty years.
Too many problems arise in the country without a solution and the problems get much worse before they get any better. Congress can’t pass laws, they instead argue until time runs out and they go on vacation for three weeks.
Roads and highways are falling apart, new tunnels are needed, and no state has any money to actually fix these problems. Governors are left offering ultimatums: roads or schools.
Don’t get me wrong, great things are still being done in the country but it’s as if we are so enamored with our own success, we don’t care anymore. As a culture, we are more concerned with Snooki’s drinking problem and Kanye West’s foot-in-mouth disease than the technological leaps and medical advances that could help the country improve.
The President was right when he said that we should treat scientist like we treat athletes and I hope he invites the winner of the National Robotics Competition to the White House this year.
As the country changes, we must change our expectations with it. Essentially, we have to all be like the hard nose parent that wants to see all straight A’s. The reduction of school budgets should not be tolerated. Decisions to refuse legislation that goes towards public works improvement should be questioned.
The President wants more for this country; we should want more from this country. Getting America back on track is not a quick but it will take much longer if we continue like it’s business as usual. For the first time in a long time, we have a leader that wants to take us into the future. How much progress we make will depend on how much we demand of ourselves.