While neighborhood-scouting in the tony areas of Northern Virginia with my family, I saw a house proudly decorated with signs reading the following:
MAKE AMERICA HUMBLE AGAIN
I wasn’t able to get a picture since I was driving, but here’s how they looked: They weren’t homemade, so I know there’s some enterprising company wishing to express this sentiment (which only seems to arise when a Republican is president, but I digress), and there are obviously people who want to pay for this sentiment.
The text was meant to simulate something, a name-card, maybe, reading “Make America ________ Again,” like a political mad-lob. The word “humble” was written in a cursive script in the blank space, and the whole thing was on a pinkish background.
The signs got me thinking about the concepts “America” and “humility,” which is a persuasion win on both the signmaker and the sign-hanger’s part.
But given what I know about America specifically and geopolitics at large, was America ever humble?
It’s the same way people wonder if America was ever great (hint: It still is, but mostly in relation to most everywhere else).
America began life as a gigantic “Eff You!” to the most powerful empire in the world.
It prevailed against incredible odds, and somehow survived the difficult decades after, to emerge some two centuries later as the world’s only superpower.
It’s kind of hard to be humble with a history like that.
Look, we all know it’s not going to last. All empires–because that’s what America is, like it or not–have their ups and downs. And they change forms.
Look at England, for example. It’s not the same country it was in 1066, or even 1966. And yet it persists.
America isn’t even that old, and we already don’t exist as founded. We haven’t for a lot time.
America as founded died a long time ago, and is now firmly in the “smells funny” phase.
But maybe we’ll be alright. Maybe something new wil change, not based on some mythic past that never really existed, but by using the past as inspiration.
So we need to be humble? Why?
Humility is a great thing, especially in your personal life. But humility doesn’t exactly translate into success on the world stage.
National humility is great when dealing with allies and friends. When dealing with hostile forces, though, it’ll get you killed.
Sorry. It’s true, and you know it.
“Okay, Mr. Jesus Guy, what about your precious Bible? Huh?”
Is that humble? Well, standing up for yourself takes some stones. I’d rather be humble before God than before my enemies.
So to answer this random person’s random sign’s point, I think personal humility would do all of us good, but national humility is as nebulous as it is weird. What would this even look like? Would we to become a nation of flagellants?
Honestly, I think people promoting this have a pretty specific definition of “humility” in mind, and it includes “agreeing with ten, or else.”
The last 16 years have brought this nation to its knees, but not for reasons the sign-hanger thinks.
This article about “cost disease” really stick with me because it disturbed me. It describes something I and I’m sure many other Americans notice and feel, but haven’t articulated.
Basically, the costs of things–important things–like healthcare, education, and infrastructure, have skyrocketed over the past 50 years while their quality has stayed the same or gotten worse.
Think back to my househunting. In this area, the cost of living is insane. At least, if you want to live in a safe neighborhood with a good school system.
And “good” is relative, in that it means “not-crime-ridden” and “not-failing.”
Because otherwise, you’d have to shell out big bucks to pay for a private school that would do what your taxpayer-funded public school can’t.
And then there’s college. If your kids can afford to go, they’ll be saddled with loads of debt for jobs that pay the same or less than they did 50 years ago.
If they find a job.
No wonder most people have few kids, if any. Big families just aren’t affordable anymore.
That’s just the way of the modern world. It’s inevitable, just like everything else.
But hey, at least consumer electronics are cheap.
Somebody wants this. Somebody is profiting from this disfunction, and it’s not regular folk like you or me.
Make America humble again? Do you feel safe that our leaders can protect us from foreign threats?
Make America humble again? I and the rest of my generation are destined to be worse off than our parents. And our kids are destined to be worse off than us. Because “that’s just how it is.”
Make America humble again? I’ve had about as much humbling as I can take. I’d be happy making us sane again.
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