So, Governor Cuomo is in hot water for saying that “America was never that great.” Now he is backing down and saying that his statement was “inartful” – whatever that means. I think Cuomo has made a huge mistake, he should never have backed down from his first statement. Instead, he should have doubled down on it.
Donald Trump’s America is divided with right and left shouting epithets back and forth in violent exchange. You can’t even keep your so-called friends, because they disagree with your lifestyle choices, or your political positions. Then you shout at the air after those former friends disappear from the screen, and you tell yourself you’re making a difference. That is the picture of the angry and unforgiving America we are living in. Conservatives and Progressives scream at each other through the medium of the media. We are struggling with simply being good people, and I can not help but think that we are just showing our true colors, and raging within our own biases.
There is a website with a list of good nations. (goodcountry.com) Problematically, even the Good Country index leans toward a Euro-centric and rich nation bias, but it does present the idea that goodness is better than our typical ideas about greatness. Not only do I like this concept, but I would like to go further – our goodness should be the marker of our greatness.
If our idea of greatness is being a winner over the list of losers in this world, then we are not good. Goodness does not take advantage of others. It does not seek its own benefit at the expense of others. The world we are creating is an “America First” world, and this comes at the expense of everyone around us, unless they can benefit us first. Of course, there are all kinds of reasons to adopt this position, but they are all selfish justifications, and they do not make America good, and in my opinion they do not make America great. Instead, we are heading down a path of the “me first” philosophy, and we are fooling ourselves to think that “America First” is anything different than the corporate expression of “Me First.”
Greatness is not a growing economy with the haves becoming richer, while the have nots remain without, but that is happening. The rich are getting richer and those in the lower economic classes have to make the same amount of money stretch further each year. It is not my race over your race, or my gender over your gender. It is not my opinion at the expense of suppressing your opinion. Even the Good Country Index recognizes these disparities and places America 25th (and dropping) on the list.
It may have great moments, but it has terrible moments as well. Problematically, in the Trump run White House, America is becoming more and more divided, and more and more selfish. We are looking at the long shadow of America in what could be the low sun of the late afternoon of our history. It looks great to us, because our measurements are in things like economics and military prowess, but right now America does not look good. In my book, that means it is not great.
I think Cuomo was right. America is not great, and quite frankly, we need to focus on something else, like learning to be good.