America is not the greatest country in the world anymore — but we could be . . .

July 3, 2012

At some small risk of sacrificing the G rating of this blog, I offer this little scene from HBO’s “Newsroom,” a program I can’t see because our cable company is not customer-oriented (but we take it for the bundled internet package).  From this small snippet, I would say HBO is again showing how a cable program aimed at adult minds can achieve high quality, if not greatness.  Aaron Sorkin created and writes the thing, and Jeff Daniels stars as the television news guy.  This scene will give every patriotic American something to think about.

Something to think about, sure.

It’s not a question, or should not be a question, of whether one “believes in” American exceptionalism.  It is a question of whether we understand that what makes America exceptional is the people who work to make things better, the people who work to make change — and that exceptionalism slips from our mantle, and from our grasp, if we don’t work to keep it.

I’m also reminded of the two posters somebody put out that showed up in every speech department in every college in America when I was a speech graduate student.  They were based loosely on Plutarch‘s Lives, the book comparing biographies of great Romans and great Greeks, and the section that compared the two great orators, the later Roman, Cicero and the earlier Greek, Demosthenes.

One poster said, “When Cicero spoke, the people said how well he spoke.”

The second said, “When Demosthenes spoke, the people said ‘Let us march!‘”

Are you ready to march?  November’s election day comes sooner than we anticipate.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Jim Stanley.

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