Saturday, February 21, 2015


Rudy Giuliani stirred up a fuss with his remark about Obama not loving America. The media even referred to the old Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” remarks that were at the heart of a 2008 controversy. I could not help but think of the opening scenes of the Aaron Sorkin written HBO Series, Newsroom. The scene depicted the star of the series responding to a college student’s remark about American exceptionalism. Sorkin had him say that America was not exceptional, to the shock and horror of the audience. He cuttingly pointed out a long litany of less that flattering ranking of America in the world: infant mortality, education score ranking, imprisoned people, etc.

The truth seems to be that United States was an exceptional place and still is; however, something ominous has happened. The point is that more and more we seem to be living in a make believe world, but worst of all we slammed the door on progress.  Not only has that happened, but also some of us out of spite, like Giuliani, slammed the door on the one man that can make it happen.

For over 20 years, I live in Belize, Central America, a small country—the population was only about 250,000 people at the time. Some would use the expression, ‘third world’, meaning a country that was not n the first world, which were the United States and Russia, to describe my newly adopted country. Those two countries were not only big, but they were the exceptional countries, the real giants in the world, which led people to gave credence to the connotation of the expression, ‘third world’ has now taken; it now means underdeveloped and economically destitute countries, as many of them are.  

I found something important about the people in my adopted country that I never saw in the United States. They were proud of their country but also knew they were not yet developed and would have to work and sacrifice to grow. In September 1981, they received independence from Britain. The Belizean people were rightly proud of their new country; natives would even stop tourist on the streets and ask them what they thought of their beautiful country. If you engaged them in conversation, they would explain they had a long ways to go to build a school system, a health care system, in getting the government operating efficiently and honestly, etc but were learning from the United States and England. The Prime Minster, for example, started a major campaign to introduce his country to the digital world something we take for granted. They could see their fault but were extremely proud of their country but most importantly, they were open to learning.  

The United States, where I was born and where I now live, have lost something important, the will to learn. We think we are the bests so who can teach us anything? We know all of the bad things Jeff Daniels, the lead actor in Newsroom, said are true. We are falling behind the world in many, many areas but at the same time, we are not willing to do anything about it. Jeremiah Wright “damned America” for its treatment of black people. Should he have blessed us for that treatment? We could have done better in the past and must learn from our mistakes. Obama is telling us that we must do something about education, and health care, and increase middle calls income, continue to take care of poor people and old people, build infrastructure, shed out religious prejudices, and a long, long list of etceteras. His opposition says he is an out of control progressive; no, he is not only trying to keep up with the world but also he is leading the way. The Rudy Giulianis of America are blind. They not only live in a make believe fanciful world of their own choosing but are making it increasingly worse. We can criticize America but also be proud to be an American; we can learn from Belize. 

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