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When was America ever great?

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When was America ever great is a question that has been posed many times over the past few years and I see it often. The answer, of course, depends on who you ask and that answer depends on how they view life and the world. Our opinions influence our perceptions as is often illustrated in the “Is the glass half empty or half-full? Both are correct.” paradox.

If one focuses on the negative, they will see things as negative and the inverse is true. However, if you ask someone who sees the “glass” as half full they will typically acknowledge and redundantly so, that there are, of course, negative things about it. They will also sympathize and understand the big picture and that there are those who will see the glass as half empty.

However, it is the nature of negativity – misery certainly loves its company – to be shallow in its depth and exclusive. Many people who see the proverbial glass as half-empty, will say things like “That’s just how things are.” or “I’m a realist.” or “I’m being objective.” They will have difficulty recognizing the positives, say that the negatives outweigh the positives or really struggle with acknowledging that there are millions of people that view that glass as half full.

So, who is right?

Preamble or Pre-Ramble?
It’s of my opinion, that it depends on how happy or unhappy you want to be. We not only form our own opinions, but all inherently view those biased opinions as the truth and objectiveness. We end up forming our own reality and wear “reality” goggles – a more sophisticated version of rose-colored glasses or beer goggles. People think that we don these rose-colored glasses or beer goggles at moments in our life, but in actuality, we wear them all the time. Our views, global paradigms, opinions, perceptions, etc. actually color the world we see.

The idea is not to wax philosophical or metaphysical but to illustrate the point that we actually choose how to see the world. We are not cyborgs with programming that can only see the world as we have been designed, but we actually can assign new programs in spite of the nature we have been born with and the programming, even indoctrination we’ve added as we age.

However, there’s no telling someone your or my way of viewing the world is the correct one, but I will say that if you choose or accept your current “programming” and it is to see things in a negative light or a glass that is half empty, it will affect your mood, amount of happiness, sense of well-being, peace of mind, how you respond to events and occurrences and create new ones.

Like the half-empty, half-full paradox, whether you see the world in a negative or positive light, you will both be correct. If you see things with negative “colored” glasses you will find something negative in everything and inversely if you wear positive “colored” glasses you will find the positive in every situation or event.

Having said that, I try to find the positives in events and people and I am happier for it. I try to find a way to see the best in others no matter how horrible they are, I try to find the best parts about events in history, no matter how horrendous they are. It doesn’t mean that those people and events are necessarily good, but life is often “gray” and what you focus on determines everything.

OK, enough with the digressions and trying to justify my decision to wear rose or positive colored glasses and return to the matter at hand.

The Meat and Potatoes
When was America ever great? For those who say “never” no amount of mention of great moments in America’s history will suffice for they will always spin or explain it away. This is not for them, since you can never convince them that the glass is half full so any attempt to do that is futile. I share this limited list of great moments in American history for those who already feel that America is great and has been great many times in her history, but just curious about what they specifically are since they don’t read history much.

A disclaimer: I find politics incredibly boring and incredibly divisive. I don’t follow or watch CNN or FOX. In fact, I don’t follow any American news. I am not a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent or, um…a Whig. Always thought that word was funny and wanted to use it in an article. I have lots of interests and politics isn’t one of them = that doesn’t mean I don’t have any opinions on politics, it’s just that I don’t care what narrative, agenda, or “line” any party wants people to toe. I just observe everyone fighting over it and think it’s all nonsense.


Image credit: wildpixel (Getty Images)

Even though I don’t watch the news or follow politics, I am constantly around political conversations in everyday life. I’ve been accused of being a Republican or a Conservative for my stance on guns, the flag, veterans, police officers, and other things. Yet accused of being a Democrat or Liberal for my pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ rights, and humanist views. I’ve even been called a “flip-flopper” for changing my opinions = what is called in the scientific community “Changing your position based on new data.” I guess, one is supposed to not only fall in line on either side but then expected to fight tooth or nail and push “I’m right, you’re wrong.” arguments and never budge.

No thanks.

So, when has America been great?

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About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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