9 thoughts on “New Year, Old Years, Ruminations on America

  1. PM says:

    i agree with a lot that you say. In particular i think that the real issue is not a silly argument about how good/great America is, but how to make it even better than it currently is. And to improve, you need to critique–otherwise, you do not know where to start!

    To argue against criticism is silly and stupid–we are not perfect (no country is), and we can and should do everything to become better. Criticism is both valid and necessary as a tool of improvement. Defensiveness is counterproductive.

    If you really love America, you strive to make it even better. And that means that you have to look for the areas where it is weaker–where it needs improvement the most. I think that is true loyalty to a country–the willingness to strive to make it the best you possibly can.

  2. Mike Kennedy says:


    I enjoyed all of your post, but particularly the closing paragraph before the Happy New Year wish.

    We always think things are falling apart, only to be surprised when things get back on track, as they historically always do.

    There is no magic place and a young country continues to make mistakes, though not as serious as a host of others. Look at all the time China has had and it still can’t get it right.

    But I like our odds, and if I were a betting man, which I’m not, I would place my money on the U.S. because I think the combination of freedom, opportunity and flexibility to changing events give us tremendous advantages, despite the mistakes along the way.

    Happy New Year, everyone.

  3. Thanks for this posting Bruce, I couldn’t agree more with the content and the feeling behind it.

    And how my feelings have paralleled your experience, that my frustrations with this country merely evolve from feelings that we could and should do better…because that is what I thought my country was representing to the world, not realizing how our actions were actually deviating from the ideals being preached to us.

    I too simply want us to do better, I want us to strive to back up the words upon which our country was based. I don’t want to throw out anyone any more than I want to leave this place where my family is.

    I want us to create more and yet consume less, and that is not a contradiction to anyone who was a Boy Scout, who took the pledge and knows it can be done if people adopt the attitude.

    Well, now I’m sounding preachy, so I’ll shut up after I thank you again for the great post–Thanks!

  4. Maren says:

    Well said, Bruce. I especially resonate with your comments on the notion of “pride” and “love” of country. I always appreciate – and generally agree with your posts. Thanks for being pro-actively American through this forum.

    Happy New Year, to you, too.

    “We Americans are world leaders and we must lead by example – particularly in times that require careful deliberation before any precipitous action – lest we fail to walk in the shoes of those we might injure.”
    ~ Peter Yarrow

  5. john sherman says:

    I guess what annoyed me about Newt’s post was its xenophobia. There’s a peculiarly annoying form of American exceptionalism which holds that everything we do is right, so we don’t have to pay attention to what other nations do because there is nothing we could possibly learn. In some on the right it takes the form of aggressive and self-righteous ignorance. Remember the “freedom fries”?

    The nations of the world are willy-nilly laboratories where various solutions to various problems under differing conditions are tested. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)–essentially the industrial democracies–provides a lot of comparative information, but you wouldn’t know it listening to political and policy discussion in this country.

    I don’t understand the mentality that sees other nations as threats rather than opportunities to learn something. It’s like refusing to go to a Thai restaurant because it doesn’t have ketchup on the table.

    1. Newt says:

      No xenophobia here – I just want a military whose purpose is to defend America.

      What is your purpose for the military?

  6. Dennis Lang says:

    Hard not to love this sentiment. I always thought in another era Bruce might have been Frank Capra. Never gloss and self-conscious flippancy with Bruce. Always from the heart. Stay safe and healthy blogophiles. Happy New Year all!

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      PS: Speaking of Newt. A fantastic and necessary contributor. I have however suspected that he is such a perfect–too perfect–representation of a certain tilted, myopic world-view that he had to be a doppleganger created by PM. Well, just a hunch.

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