I want to be proud of my country. I want to be proud of our achievements. I want this country to work. After all, I live here. And there are things to be proud of.
I’ve been around the block a few times, considering leaving, but every time I get a new excuse for staying. Thing is, I like it here. My kids too. I tried to subtly influence them to leave the country, but I can’t even get them to leave my house.
I also want to be proud of our leaders. I don’t expect to agree with them all the time. In fact, I’ve become accustomed to find myself in disagreement with them most of the time. But I expect them to conduct themselves in a way that I can be proud of them – even of those for whom I might not even have voted. It matters not, they are still this country, and hence my, leaders.
I’m willing to make concessions for cultural differences. For instance, I have one wife, but if your culture dictates that you may or should have an unlimited number of wives and girlfriends, then who am I to say you are wrong. I mean, King Solomon had a truly substantial number of wives, and I’m told he was quite a splendid chap.
But I think I have now managed to pinpoint the thing that bugs me most. The thing that often makes it difficult to feel proud of my country.
That is the absence of excellence. [And accountability too, come to think of it.]
The overstretched tolerance for the lack of these characteristics drives me up the wall. It matters not how many pages a newspaper may write about imminent politicians’ alleged wrongdoings, there is no discernable embarrassment with them, their party, or amongst his followers. To the contrary..
The publication of facts that, in any other country, would be a scandal and would result in heads to role, does not cause a ripple here. Those incriminated and their supporters simply brush it off, respond defensively to it, and often make it off as the rantings of a bunch of a racists. The politicians in question remain as popular as ever.
Qualified audit reports have become the norm with municipalities and government departments. It causes no embarrassment. Municipalities are run to the ground, but everyone still get there “performance” bonuses. And life goes on.
It is said that the three words that keep the American economy going are: “You are fired.” The phrase “you are redeployed” just does not seem to have the same ring to it.
Maybe I just misunderstand the culture?