Woe betides a nation whose King is a child and whose Princes eat breakfast.
America the GREAT?
What exactly does it mean to be great? When we look upon a person or a thing and refer to them as great what exactly are we trying to convey? Well, I googled the word and it turns out that the word ‘GREAT’ simply describes a quality of being considerably above average. A person or a thing is referred to as great if they possess attributes that makes them important. More often than not, the term great is also used to convey a sense of largeness. In any case, the word ‘GREAT’ is undoubtedly profound. I chose to write on this topic not necessarily to show my disdain for the rather boorish and larger than life personality of the Mr. Donald Trump; one of the leading Republican candidates in the current campaign year. Like most people, I find Mr. Trump quite amusing and entertaining. He is a poster child of everything not right about the era of the mechanical bride (borrowing the words of Marshall McLuhan). So that we are clear, I am neither a fan of the Democratic Party for obvious reasons least to say the apparent show of shame and a leadership bereft of any spiritual decorum; the subject of this I will deal with at a later date. This post was inspired by the tag line of Mr. Donald Trump’s campaign “Make America Great Again!”; a very poignant and pregnant statement. Mr. Trump seems to infer that America has lost its greatness. My objective is to investigate his claim; was/is America Great? Has America lost its greatness and why?
Was / Is America great? Without any doubt, the last century was America’s century. The achievements are infact too numerous to recall; America was the first country to put a man on the moon; this was a particularly towering achievement that forever changed humanity’s relationship with deep space exploration. Americans beat the Russians to it so in relative terms, one could say that by this singular accomplishment America is a great country. At the turn of the 19th Century, America through the might of industrialization bolted ahead of the rest of the world creating so much wealth and achieving such huge advancement; America is one of the most prosperous countries in modern history. America’s role in the committee of nations has been that of leadership; the influence of America in international politics spread beyond its own shores. As a judeo-christian nation, America’s entrance into the second world war prevented the imminent victory of Adolf Hitler who was at the cusp of a successful supremacist crusade that saw millions of innocent people exterminated. So, yes, America was great. What about now? Let us quote Mr. Donald Trump shall we? In his campaign rhetoric, he talks about how America doesn’t win anymore; how China and the rest are kicking America’s butt and how jobs are disappearing abroad e.t.c. Every time I have listened to this man, I have pondered deeply about his narrative which for all intent and purpose is a fact but far from true. I strongly disagree with obvious narratives like the one being put forward by Mr. Trump. In the next few lines, I will offer my thoughts on the concept of Greatness; I hope to remind my amiable American friends and anyone what the kernels of true greatness consist of.
A nation is first a spiritual entity and every other thing is secondary. A nation is also an idea. America is an idea.
The kernels of Greatness.
First of, none of the towering accomplishments mentioned (and there are many more) in this piece accounts for the greatness of America. All of these are mere pointers and manifestation of greatness. Greatness is an intangible virtue. We know this to be true from the wisdom of great thinkers like Jim Collins who in his hugely successful book; ‘Good to Great’ articulated the nature of greatness. If greatness is simply money in the bank and jewelry on neck then the narrative ‘Make America Great Again’ will be the best thing since after slice bread. A little credit to Mr.Trump though, America has lost its greatness but it has little to do with economics and international politics and everything to do with the soul of that nation. This is counter -intuitive wisdom that seem to have eluded Mr. Trump and many others. To understand the true nature of greatness you have to go deeper; the substance of greatness is more important than its appearance or manifestation. A nation is first a spiritual entity and every other thing is secondary. A nation is also an idea. America is an idea; an idea premised on an aspiration that every human being can become great i.e achieve their dreams by the instrumentality of certain factors aligning; an environment that nourished talent and a passion to create value for others. This is what America is about. Now, what is dangerous is to read this statement and not pay attention to the underlying call to action and responsibility. Look closely and you will see that the promise of greatness is laden with a call to personal responsibility. The most gracious Americans I have met understand that by creating value for others, value comes to them. How much of this ethos has Mr. Trump and many like him lived by? (Just consider how many times he has boasted about taking advantage of the loopholes in the tax code for his own personal benefits; talking tough and boasting about accomplishments as a self-made billionaire). Playing smart and taking advantage of people is far from winning. It is love that wins.
The greatest attribute of greatness is humility.
God forbid that this piece is reduced to a cheap attack on the person of Mr. Donald Trump. I have chosen to write on this in my capacity as a Social Evangelist. I love America and wish her well. There is no reason for me to wish otherwise. This is a nation that is so loved by God; even though it has become politically incorrect to think of America as a Christian nation, there is something quite surreal about a country that refers to itself as ‘God’s own country’. The greatest attribute of greatness is humility. Again, this is not ivory tower thinking. Mostly, people love the sound bites of impresario; tough talking; confident leaders who have the form and figure of a “leader” and there is nothing wrong with that persona. The problem however is that just because someone talks tough does not make them right. The greatness of a nation is at the mercy of its spiritual health and let us be clear that by spirituality we do not refer to religion. Spirituality is an awareness of one’s own relative importance; to be humble enough to see others as God sees them; to genuinely love people because there is a piece of God in them. As an outsider, when I think of the greatness of America, I am not merely thinking about the size of her Army (it is expedient to have a rich and robust military as even God has one in His kingdom). I am not distracted by the show of greatness and no one should be. When I think of the greatness of a person or a thing, I look at the soul. To make America great again, Americans must return to the values that made them great. Great empires have existed and ceased. Righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach unto a people.