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Are we still “great”?

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What should be the measure of greatness for any nation that calls itself “great”?

This morning President Bush nominated appeals court Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The president spoke of Alito’s family with these words:

And I know he’s thinking about his late father. Samuel Alito Sr. came to this country as a immigrant from Italy in 1914. And his fine family has realized the great promise of our country (emphasis added).

Much as changed about this country since Alito’s father arrived on American shores. Is the “great promise” that drew Alito Sr. to this nation the same “great promise” today?

Perhaps as I approach an age I hardly expected to worry about in my 20s, I increasingly wonder about the measures of “greatness” that apply to this nation. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing the president and other politicians simply pronounce this a “great” nation without being willing to debate the meaning of that platitude.

One such measure is the degree of privacy an individual should expect. Does that fall under “pursuit of happiness”? Is the degree of happiness individuals feel a measure of national greatness?

In the four years since Sept. 11, 2001, the obsessive preoccupation of this nation’s leaders in applying time, treasure and lives to the search for terrorism has, to some degree, compromised this nation’s greatness. The degree of privacy enjoyed by the individual citizen has eroded due to influences such as the Patriot Act, technological crime, technological demographic targeting by business and a Supreme Court willing to let developers take homes.

I’m sure far more competent minds than mine could more adequately address a topic that ought to concern more of us as the 2006 mid-term elections draw closer.

If more people think that nation’s “greatness” is under stress, then perhaps the politicians who fail to focus on the issue ought to be given the electorate’s heave-ho.


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

October 31, 2005 at 9:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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