There’s a lot of things Americans tend to remember. In the 19th century, we were asked to “Remember the Alamo.” During World War II, “Remember Pearl Harbor.” And today, we’re told to “Remember 9/11.”
Sadly, Americans tend to forget just as easily. The Alamo was the Texan fort valiantly but unsuccessfully defended by American settlers from a Mexican assault in 1836. Though the battle was lost, it served as a rallying cry that inspired Texans to continue their fight an eventually win their independence from Mexico.
In the end, however, it would seem that the Mexican loss of Texas has been somewhat avenged, as a vast number of their citizens have crossed the border illegally into the U.S. in recent years. If some members of Congress have their way, the millions who are here illegally will become instant citizens.
A century after the Alamo, the attack on Pearl Harbor sent shock waves through the U.S. The Japanese became the instant enemy who had to be vanquished completely.
America won the war with Japan, then helped to rebuild it into an economic giant. Ultimately, Japanese firms overtook the American car industry to the point where Detroit, which once enjoyed a bustling middle-class existence, now finds itself bereft of jobs and any hope for the future.
Which brings us to 9/11. The planes that flew into the World Trade Center were part of Osama Bin Laden’s (remember him?) plan to battle America and drive it into bankruptcy.
The World Trade Center was the symbol of American prosperity, and its demise seemed to mark the beginning of an economic downfall from which the U.S. is still struggling to recover.
A steady series of bad economic decisions made over the years have plagued the U.S. Outsourcing the manufacturing base has led to massive unemployment in the middle-class. High-tech jobs like computer programming and software engineering are now beginning to leave American shores as well.
The massive boom in home construction, which was the only major industry left, went belly up once people lost their jobs and could not afford to buy homes. The sub-prime mortgage crisis further inflamed the economic collapse, as financial companies gave cash away like candy to individuals who were otherwise unqualified to receive loans, inflating home values while driving families into foreclosure.
The politicians in Washington have made convincing Americans that they have the answers to the economic meltdown something of a cottage industry. President Barack Obama is pushing for tax breaks and loans for small businesses and going around giving rah-rah speeches about creating jobs.
Obama is also seeking to spend $50 billion on highways, airport and railway construction in an effort to boost the economy. That’s nice, but will the trade unions go along with the hiring of non-union workers for these projects?
Are all these promises more about economic recovery or getting incumbents re-elected? Anyone can promise a chicken in every pot, but are these politicians willing to deliver on their promises?
American resolve helped build this country into a superpower, but since 9/11, there seems to be little resolve in Washington to do much. America is suffering, and our leaders inspire little hope that anything will change.
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