We Introduced the
Atomic Age 77 Years Ago.
What have we done since?
By: Bill Schoettler
August 7, 2022
Quite a few things, actually, We have fed the world, provided technology in multiple fields (agriculture, mechanics, medicine, energy, education, plus), and offered guidance (mostly unaccepted) in politics and civics and culture. We have introduced cinema around the world, led the world in automotive safety and design, and provide the majority of the world’s aircraft.
For all these things we are regularly vilified in the world’s press, as well as our own. We are condemned for our ancient history, for racism, for white supremacy, for our law enforcement practices, for our judicial system, for our cultural lapses in virtually every field, and finally for setting a horrible example at home and abroad for almost anything else you can imagine.
Despite all our faults, we are the single most sought country for immigration, our sports figures are known worldwide, our cinema celebrities are recognized more than our politicians..and many of the latter are laughed at.
I was born before WWII started, lived through the early days of the Atomic Age, the Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam, somehow survived the Trump Presidency, and now am living with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. I’m not sure I’ll survive the latter.
Looking at where this country of ours has traveled over the more than 85 years of my lifetime I see greatness, leadership, integrity, and superlative examples which have been offered to the world as models for emulation.
Instead what we have drawn has been criticism, vilification, refutation as well as physical attacks both at home and abroad. Why can this be?
The United States has not sought to conquer other countries. On the contrary, when we have been involved in military engagements, many of which we have won, we have instead offered support for recovery to the conquered countries. Even in those countries where our military involvement has not been welcomed with universal acceptance we have nonetheless expended billions of dollars of aid and education and medical assistance as well as infrastructure support for the population.
The “young” people of this country of ours seem to believe that we need a complete re-purposing of our national goals, a re-imagining of the principles that supported us for the first couple hundred years of our existence, and a complete revamping of how we treat our citizens and want-to-be citizens.
To some extent, this is a relatively traditional reaction of youngsters. I can easily recall my father, a man whose wisdom I failed to fully recognize until long after he passed away, who would say to me that I was yet too young to appreciate what he would share with me. I feel the same reaction with my own children and grandchildren.
The lessons of life are hard-learned. Experience is an expensive school for many and too often the realities of life come distorted by delusional education and the ready supply of “disinformation”.
History is a subject over which many may argue when it comes to interpretation but for the most part, the lessons are obvious, and, as is often said, we are condemned to live over and over those lessons unlearned.
Here are some readily apparent facts. For our country’s first couple hundred years we were relatively isolated…at least in the sense that other countries did not try to manipulate us, invade us, threaten us or present us with uncomfortable directives, orders, or dictates. We survived and, in our own way, thrived. When we were called upon to participate in world events we did so with vigor and ability and counted our efforts on the plus side of the ledger.
By the time we had survived the Korean War and before becoming involved in Vietnam we had conquered polio, the sound barrier, put a man on the moon, explored the universe and pushed the envelope of technology, and shared all this with the rest of the world.
Then along came Vietnam and a country-wide crumbling of our attitude toward the military, the unveiling of the cloak of invincibility of our politicians, the opening of the bedroom doors of our celebrities, and the realization that our vaunted educational system was mired in clay. Arguably absolutely nothing had changed in the overall human level of performance in this or any other country. What had changed was the evolutionary experience of what we call “the media”. Television, the internet, radio and newspapers, and rapid communication on all levels opened the entire world to “what’s happening now”. Everywhere. At once.
Along with our rising educational level plus the ready availability of [mostly useless] information on everything-that-was-happening-in-the-world, we became instant critics of the universe. Everybody had an opinion on every subject, uneducated people were asked and honored for opinions on every subject and their answers were regularly posted on all media sources. The result has been pretty much chaos when it comes to the idea of trying to educate the general public on worthwhile subjects.
Our country is no longer in the enviable position of setting a prime example for the rest of the world. We no longer hold sway on subjects of democracy, economic wisdom, proven reliable politics, and dominant cultural examples. We cannot control our big-city populations, have rising crime rates, a degrading economy, military inadequacies, and educational disintegration.
It is time for a change. Failure to change, to halt the descending spiral that leads to mediocracy, and at a minimum maintain whatever position we may now hold in the world’s estimation, failing this minimum condition will only continue the embarrassing descent into second-world status.
Our President is an embarrassment rivaled only by the equally inadequate Vice President. The next-in-line-of-succession is also in decline. The designated military leaders of the country are shamefully supporting ridiculous goals of DEI and with the continuing influx of “visitors” across our southern border we are infecting the entire country with drugs and viruses and imposing an ever-growing economic burden on our fragile infrastructure.
It is time to change our direction, change our priorities, and change our political leaders for a more dedicated and responsible set whose goals reflect the majority of our citizens. Or have we already done that?