Friday, July 20, 2012

AI (part 1) - American Ingenuity

Westinghouse poster - We Can Do It!


Rosie the Riveter?

(reference: Women in War Jobs - Rosie the Riveter,Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the model who inspired the 'We Can Do It!' WWII poster campaign dies at 86 | Mail Online)

This iconic slogan

- We Can Do It! -

called US women into the workforce, doing "men's work" such as munitions and other heavy jobs during World War Two.

And 70 years ago as a nation, we were united in the effort to defeat Hitler, who was bent on world domination and genocide, and Hirohito of Japan - Hitler's ally - who approved the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Ramping up to fight - and win - another world war after the decade long malaise of the Great Depression truly was an example of the resiliency of the American spirit and a showcase for American Ingenuity.

After winning that great victory of World War Two, many Americans espoused the sentiment (as we have for years) -

America is the greatest country in the world!
(reference: It's Memorial Day in America, the greatest country in the world – Telegraph Blogs)

Buzz salutes the US flag
Likewise, we seemed united in
the race to the moon.

More than 40 to 50 years ago, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was in full swing. And this Space Race was a must win for political reasons as well as advancements in science and technology. Beating the Soviet Union on this front was imperative ...
and we did it!

And as we pass another anniversary of that day - July 20, 1969, Americans landing on the moon was a crowning achievement of American Ingenuity in the 20th century.

Looking back, some have called most the 20th century - the American century

But in the 21st century, many pundits see America in decline and conclude ....

America is * no longer * the greatest country in the world.

Below is a clip from the opening scene of the HBO series -The Newsroom. Television anchor, Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, answers a sorority girl's question - Why is America the greatest country in the world?

His no spin answer - which so many blogs laud him for -

It's not the greatest country in the world ... that's my answer.

(caution - there is some strong language if you play the clip.)


About 3 1/2 minutes into this clip, the anchor seems to mourn for what we Americans used to be. And here are a few nibbles -

We stood up for what was right ... we reached for the stars ... acted like men ... we aspired to intelligence ... we didn't scare so easy ...

He ends his rant ...

First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. ... Enough?

Ouch! What a downer. But this clip from our pop culture reflects the sentiments of many. Can we reclaim being great, or better yet, being a noble nation, again?

Ironically, a more optimistic view of the American people comes from "the other side of the pond" by two Englishmen.

Only in America ...

Craig Ferguson, an English comedian who had recently become an American citizen, had another English comedian, Stephen Fry, as his guest on The Late, Late Show.

I love Stephen Fry. He is an British citizen who unapologetically loves America. And he did a mini-series in 2008, based on his book - Stephen Fry in America, in which he talks about in part of the interview.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see more clearly and objectively what is really going on in this country. And this resident alien expresses his opinion that our national emotion is optimism ... even during these times when so many of us natives are discouraged.

Only in America?

Yes. It's something wonderful.

Stephen Fry's theory is that the source of America's greatness can be found in the gene pool, those who left the Old World (like three of my grandparents) or other oppressive regimes and came to America - by choice. Their driving force?

There can be something better ...

... let's risk it!

... let's try it!


We Can Do It!

That entrepreneurial spirit to be unleashed is the stuff that makes ...

American Ingenuity!

And as long as we nurture the indomitable optimistic spirit and a climate of freedom which fosters achievement - other than squashing it - America will continue to be a great country. Otherwise, we will slide down the slippery slope of mediocrity and self-loathing into the dustbin of history as many pundits say we will.

May that never happen ... at least, on my watch.

This is the first part of a new thread
- American Ingenuity (AI) -
which will highlight the indomitable American spirit
... and may the posts continue as we face trying and challenging times ahead.


Other posts on this subject:

American Ingenuity (2009)

October Sky 2010 (2010)

ZAMM (part 3) - Chautauqua, then and now (2011)


Other posts on America:

America in Decline?! (2011)

New Years 2012 - the Good worth fighting for! (2011)

Culture 101 (part 1) - Reagan's Challenge (2012)


Photo from Wiki Commons: We can do it, Buzz salutes the US flag

No comments:

Post a Comment