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America, Please Wake Up....You Are Great!

America, Please Wake Up....You Are Great!

A friend of mine suggested that I watch the television series “The Newsroom”. The show is about a fictitious news show based in New York but it cleverly weaves in real life stories and issues. Jeff Daniels acts brilliantly as the anchor man and he has a staff around him that provide information for the sixty minute news segment.

The opening scene in the first episode was Aaron Sorkin (the writer) at his absolute best. Daniels’ character had always played it safe when it came to the balance between ratings and telling the truth….deep inside it was killing him. During a town hall meeting at a college he was asked to answer the question in one sentence, “Why is America the greatest country in the world.”

After a number of platitudes Daniels’ character finally cracks and gives a tirade of facts that proves that America is no longer the greatest. He finishes his speech with almost a cry from his heart that it could be again….

Now I find myself in a strange predicament….I’m Australian, watching an American show that is essentially decrying the downfall of America. I want America to be great and I am sick and tired of Americans pulling down their own country….let alone foreigners.

America was built on principles that inspire, challenge and reward individuals to believe that anything is possible. I lament the fact that America’s leaders have become so wrapped up in winning the next election that they’ve forgotten to present a big vision to the people.

A number of years ago I had the privilege of going through President John F Kennedy’s library in Boston and during that time I viewed one of his most famous speeches that he made in 1962. In it he inspired America by saying, “We choose to go to the moon…..not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.”

About ten years after that speech a six year old was sitting in the living room watching Apollo 17 lift off and I said to myself, “WOW, America can do anything it puts its mind to!” America has relinquished its place as the world leader in many fields not because of a lack of ability but a lack of desire.

I regularly go to the USA to attend or speak at conferences and inevitably the subject of politics gets brought up around the bar. Overwhelmingly there is a feeling of despair from my US friends as they talk about the future almost not being there for their country. Corrupt politicians, business leaders and justice for those with money seems to settle like a wet blanket on the conversation…..it’s sad.

So why do I want America to rise up and be great again? As I said, I’m from Australia and although I love my country, I’m also a realist. Although globally, Australia punches above its weight our population is that of greater Los Angeles.

The difference between Australia and the USA is that Australia was given birth as a penal colony while the USA was from pilgrims. Australia is a nation that prides itself on pulling down our leaders and cutting down anyone that is successful. In fact, if someone is successful then by and large we assume that they got there by doing something wrong. Yes, we have the sense of “mateship” and many other good qualities but we don’t have the vision to strive for a better humanity. For that, we really do need the USA.

You can ask my wife that whenever I go to the USA I get inspired and reinvigorated that anything is possible. I think that many people that live in the USA have become accustomed to this environment and risk looking down rather than looking up. The moment that I step off the plane in LAX I feel like there is one opportunity after another and all I have to do is reach out and grab them. Seriously, it’s the most amazing feeling you could ever possibly wish for.

As a foreigner, I actually don’t have much faith in the current crop of American leaders to pull the country around and inspire the world forward. What I do have is an incredible faith in the American people. Many of you need to reacquaint yourself with your entrepreneurial drive and stand up and say to your politicians that, “enough is enough!”

Back in the 70’s, a generation marched on Washington and filled to overflowing the area between the capital building and the Lincoln memorial. They weren’t happy with their leaders and said, “We’ve had enough!” It wasn’t long afterwards that the Vietnam War ended. My encouragement to the current generation is to stop looking at your smartphones and look at the world around you.

From my perspective, America can be great and more importantly America is still great….to all Americans, you just need to realise it. It’s an incredible country that is currently wrestling with some really tough issues. If the people that recently had friends massacred in their local church are any indication of the latent strength of character of the average American then I believe there is hope. They forgave the mad gunman and took the higher road that wasn’t down the path of revenge. What an incredible inspiration to the world!

The most wonderful thing about America in the past is that it was doing good not just for America but for humanity. It assumed the role of world leader and rose to the challenges that the world presented. Scientific breakthroughs, medical advances and technological wonders enriched the nation and provided all humanity with marvels that would appear more like magic a few generations ago.

This entire post came from a television show…..and yes, that came from America as well. You were once a great nation, you still are a great nation and will be into the future. I implore you to stop looking inwardly and set your sights on another great big vision that is inspirational to the rest of us. Let the world envy you at your audacity to “do things not because they are easy but because they are hard.”

Have a great weekend!

Here is the link to the Youtube video that has really inspired this post.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zqOYBabXmA

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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