“Did you see what happened in America yesterday? It’s crazy!”
The animated stranger standing next to me in line for breakfast is from Hanoi, our temporary stop for the morning.
“People are scared to go there now,” he continued. “Between the riots and the violence and people dying from COVID, we’re all looking at America and wondering what is going on.”
Unfortunately, I have no intelligible response to offer.
My new friend’s comments remind me of the 1980’s high school romantic comedies I grew up watching.
Almost without fail, the school’s top dog was an egocentric character with little going for him beyond his fancy pants and car.
Surrounded by a gang of yes-men, he pushed his way around the school and community, intimidating anyone who dared to get in his way.
That is until the good guy or girl came along and exposed the bully for the scared and deeply flawed individual that they truly were.
Inevitably, they would shirk into the shadows humiliated while everyone else enjoyed a happy ending.
For over a century, America has been the world’s heartthrob
“By the early 20th century, the United States had become the world’s dominant economic, industrial, and agricultural power. After the United States came to the aid of Britain and France during World War I, American might only continued to soar.” — Study.com
Year after year, America was consistently considered “most likely to achieve.”
However, while everyone was distracted by the fancy pants and car, America has been collecting more troubling titles:
“Most likely to have a police officer kill someone”
“Most likely to have a neighbor with a firearm”
“Most likely to have 100,000 deaths from a pandemic”
“Perhaps no advanced nation has responded as poorly as the U.S. Perverse regulation, a bungled government test and fragmented supply chains held back testing for crucial weeks, allowing the epidemic to spread undetected.” — Bloomberg
For decades, some have prophesized that the era of America’s superpower is past, but that idea has failed to get passed around to everyone.
However, in only a matter of weeks, back to back internal crises have exposed what America can no longer hide.
“The coronavirus crisis may pose the greatest threat yet to the belief that America has little to learn from the rest of the world.” — The Atlantic
We are a nation that is scared and deeply flawed.
And nowhere is that more evident than our student body president.
So congrats America. We’ve now joined the ranks of some of the most arrogant, detested bullies of our generation.
The question is now, can we ever get back to being “most likely to achieve?”
Unfortunately, I currently have no intelligible response to offer.