America, The Great

Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

Do you remember when we were the greatest nation on earth?

Fellow ’90s kids, I see you in all your jaded glory. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

I remember it like it was yesterday and I was chasing my friends on the scorching black top with tar sticking to my shoes.

We were the greatest back then, when the teachers taught us about the bravery of our forefathers

When we were the heroes who swooped in to all the oppressive regimes and all the wars and defeated the evil villains trying to take over the world.

When in Sunday school we sat criss-cross with the American flag on one side of the pulpit and the Christian one on the other.

We were the greatest when the twin towers were bombed and we declared war on ALL terror EVERYWHERE.

So great were we that not even the worst skeleton’s in our closet could ruin our holy nation.

Not when we closed our borders to refugees whose homes we helped destroy.

Not back when we did the same exact things to Jews during the Holocaust.

Not when we targeted black communities for stop and frisk and mocked the children left behind for struggling without their daddies.

Not when we did the exact same thing with real estate.

Not when single mothers were evicted on the streets with their children but the stock market was doing swell.

Nope.

We were great, SO GREAT, that we could do anything we wanted to anyone.

We were great until we weren't.

Until other countries had enough nukes that they weren’t scared of us anymore.

Until nations that actually valued education took the market by storm.

Until our birth rate fell lower and lower because the people couldn't afford diapers and food when they had to subsidize the rich.

We were the greatest until our power waned, chipped and weathered, until we no longer could extort the world into praising us.

We were the greatest when I was little and they told us it was so.

Now, we are the singer in the afterglow of their one hit wonder. The writer who can't dream up a new project.

We are merely one of nearly 200 countries.

We are America. And we are finally working on getting better.

With the business of greatness behind us, we’re focusing on the people these days and honoring our history, lest we fall from grace again.

The threat of greatness looms ahead of us. Leaders who yearn for power. But some of us prefer the pursuit of living in a great place rather than the most powerful in the world.

It’s 2050 and things have changed.

We are greater now than when we were great.

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Writer. Teacher. She/her. lindsayfrench.com

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Lindsay French

Lindsay French

Writer. Teacher. She/her. lindsayfrench.com

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