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America is already great
by Bryan Gray
Aug 04, 2016 | 2106 views | 0 0 comments | 290 290 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I have never been accused of excessive optimism, but the July holidays have ramped up my hope quota. The Republican National Convention speakers may have portrayed the country as a wanton dung heap of woe and failed promises, but rhetoric is not always reality.

Make America great again? I think it already is!

I witnessed parade routes jammed with harried parents and sunburned young women and slow-moving old men and women and middle-aged men with ill-fitting t-shirts sticking to beer bellies – and all of them waving American flags and applauding the participants from the POW-remembrance contingents to the teenagers in the high school drum line.

Unlike the policy gamesmanship in Congress, I heard polite and civil (if subdued) clapping for entrants representing both major political parties. The parades demonstrated that we can celebrate a diverse America without finger-pointing.

I also see the “Now Hiring” signs posted at business after business. I hear professionals in my business referral group plead for additional employees “to keep up with all the new business.” Granted, Utah is in a different position than Flint, Mich., but all the economic news points to a revived economy.

Yes, we don’t produce steel or fabric goods as we once did. But many industry indexes claim the U.S. now manufactures more total goods than we did 30 years ago. Not all zip codes share in the good news. The Midwest has been especially hard hit, yet my recent trip to Pittsburgh reflected how government and private partnerships can give a community an energetic bounce-back when its primary industry (steel) sags.

As the stock market hits all-time highs, analysts give much of the credit to investors in other countries who see America as a stable fortress.

This is not to say we don’t have problems. Violence leads nightly news, yet we have less violent crime than in the 1990s. Violence against law enforcement is especially concerning, but national police statistics show fewer officers killed in the line of duty today than during the Reagan-presidency era.

It comes down to the proverbial argument as to whether the glass is half empty or half full. The gloom-and-doom crowd knows that fear makes for juicy headlines. But if the headlines often make me depressed, all it takes is a story of goodwill to bring me out of the funk. And goodwill always starts with a single human act of decency.

Last week, for instance, an 8-year old Virginia boy made the news. Worried about the excessive heat, he filled a cooler with water and Gatorade and left it outside his door wishing the mail carrier a good day.

His mother told the Washington Post, “He thinks it is what he is supposed to do. He doesn’t see it as a big deal.”

The kid understands. America is already great. It is in our power to keep it so.

The opinions stated in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ownership or management of this newspaper.

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