Soapbox: America’s Debt


Soapbox: America’s Debt

Looking back through my calendar I note that I haven’t crunched along the pavement in good ol’ America in nearly six weeks.  I’ve found myself back in Blighty (England), Italy, China, and at my company’s headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. It began very quietly during that time.  It started as a short curiosity on the news as a brief segment about how America had something of a crises brewing.  The segments heated up and lengthened out as the now, Debt Crises, loomed closer.  It seemed the pundits and the newscasters all agreed America’s vaulted politicians were destined to do the right thing, raise the debt limit, so we can use the big ATM at the Fed to get some more bucks to pay the bills.  No cause for concern then… back to the sports and weather forecasts.

But alas!  That was not to be…  Over the past few weeks the now much ballyhooed event ballooned into not just a crises but a seeming Armageddon event of such far reaching consequence that you might as well start planting crops in your backyard as the world is almost certain to end if a deal isn’t reached.  Of for Pete’s sake!!!

Let’s just stop for a moment, put the clock on pause and reflect…

I can’t myself amongst the lucky few.  I was born English and chose to become an American.  I wasn’t born with the rights, the freedoms and the patriotic pride that is the birthright of those lucky enough to be born here… I had to choose it.  When I meet people and they ask me where I am from I always say, “I’m from England, but I live in America.”  It’s not that my little rock in the north Atlantic isn’t good enough for me, for it certainly is… it’s just that there is something curiously magical about being an American.

I don’t think most of us really ever appreciate quite what it means to be a member of the fraternity of those born with such a natural patriotic fervor that to many around the world it is one of the things they hate most about us.  Americans are naturally more comfortably in their own skin, their own histories, and personalities that we are usually the easiest of all to spot when you leave its long and winding shores.  I think that sometimes that rubs people the wrong way… but I find it reassuring that we find the world such a comfortable place to wander around.

America takes a public relations beating just about everywhere I go.  I patiently defend it’s cause and where necessary ask them to go easy on a country that at just barely 235 years is still growing up… and then ask how their 1,000 year old country is still a mess.  That usually goes over like a ton of bricks… but hey… if you can’t take the heat then don’t dish it out!

And so I watched the news from my hotel room in Bangkok this past week.  I watched as our politicians started to sound just so perfectly ridiculous that I can barely stomach to admit that this is my country that is on the verge of, somehow, failing to reach consensus, put aside the need to one up the opposition and ensure that their voting base stays loyal and find a bloody fix!  I am no economist and for the life of me wouldn’t pretend to understand the enourmous intricacies of how our economic machine works, let alone is funded.  I figure smarter and better educated people fill our halls of government to tackle that.  And yet I watch as each progressive day brings us closer to not finding a resolution to what is obviously and important issue that needs to be addressed.

I earned the right to vote when I became an American just shy of 10 years ago.  I was granted the right to say what I think and scream it high from a soap box if I choose.  I was in many respects encouraged to voice my opinions (albeit peacefully) and ask those around me to speak up too.  It is what makes America truly and unconditionally great.  Ours is a country of diverse background and cultures.  A country richly deserving of a Himilayian mountains worth of more respect for the role it plays in the world.  And yet I watch as our politicians spend obsurd amounts of time frolicking on the stage in front of us weaving a carefully crafted web of, quite honestly, bull-shit designed to describe how they aren’t at fault and that it’s, “the other guys who are to blame”.

It’s time to step up boys and girls.  It’s time to put pull out your best Senate toga, get yourself down to the Capital and work together to make sure that the other 400 million of us don’t pay the price for your totally unnecessary game of poker with our country!

I am proud to be an American.  I like my dusty jeans, my t-shirts and my baseball hats.  I like hot dogs and an icy cold American beer.  I love it when people remark with a, “Wow! Really! Where?” when I tell them I’m from America.  I love that as a nation we resolutely object to being told what we cannot do, where we cannot go and what we cannot have.  This is a country that strives to look within when the occasion calls for it and summon from that place in your belly that quivers when you start to get excited the desire, the passion, and the raw emotion to pick itself of the floor and, as I’ve said before :), cowboy back up for another round!

I say to those that asked for our votes and now speak for us in the vaulted halls of our government, “It’s time to cowboy up!”.  Enough is enough.  I don’t care if you order in take-away, put on your favoritie slippers and curl up around a big table in the White House all weekend until you get this taken care off.  When I wake up on Monday, the day before the world is to supposed to end, I expect to hear and see good things from your weekend of work.  Do us proud and I will buy some American stocks, order some American coffee and buy some American sneakers.  Do us not… and well… I guess I’ll start tilling the backyard for some corn :).

Ben

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One Response to “Soapbox: America’s Debt”

  1. This one wanted me to reconsider my location, for a while at least, seems the problems are the same the world over…but so is the pride and patriotism when the chips are down.

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