Our American men dropped the baton in the 4×100 meter relay. It was embarrassing. Unthinkable.
A few minutes later our American women did precisely the same thing.
The commentators were brutal, but accurate: “You have to look at the new leadership at USA Track and Field and wonder if it’s been a vacuum of leadership. There does seem to be no cohesiveness. It seems that everyone has their own agenda.”
Bob Costas wrapped it up by saying, “Did you notice that all the other nations had their country names nicely printed on their bibs? And look at the Americans: ‘USA’ written on theirs in magic marker.”
Oil is more than $120/barrel, which makes the cost of driving home from work approximately the same as the cost of dinner. Gold and platinum recently rose to all-time high prices because rich people hoard precious metals when they lose confidence in the leadership of America. Our newscasters make certain we go to bed each night knowing inflation and unemployment are on the rise.
Thanks guys. You’re a real ray of sunshine.
I switched off the TV, went online and stumbled across a headline posted by CBS News: “Coming Soon: A Post-American World.” The subtitle said, “With The Rise Of China And Other Economies, The Golden Age Of American Influence May Be Coming To An End.”
The story opened by saying, “Millions of us have been swept up in the color and drama of the Olympic Games. But the Beijing Stadium isn't the only arena for global competition. Now, after decades of dominance, will the U.S. soon be 'passing the torch'”?
CBS went on to say, “America's beverage, Budweiser beer, is now owned by Belgians… And isn't the United States supposed to be the place with the biggest and best of everything? The tallest building in the world isn't in New York or Chicago anymore. It's in Taipei. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, once the world's largest, isn't even in the top ten now. The biggest one's in – surprise, surprise – China.”
CBS then quoted Albert Keidel, an expert on China's economy, as saying China “will deserve and demand leadership in global institutions.”
CBS asked rhetorically, “Are we slipping? Are we reaching some inevitable tipping point that will change the world as we know it? Is the golden age of America coming to an end?”
I turned off my computer and grinned as I recalled Mark Twain’s response to the American newspaper that printed his obituary. His telegram said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Yes, it’s dark and it’s getting cold. But I’ve already seen this movie, so I know how it ends. It was 1980. Our president was miffed because Russia had invaded Afghanistan, so he told our athletes they couldn’t compete in the Olympics in Moscow. Oil and gold were at an all-time high and we were in the grip of rising inflation. Even more embarrassing was the fact that fifty-two U.S. diplomats were held hostage in Iran for 444 days. Our president tried to rescue them but America’s helicopters broke down and 8 of our military people lost their lives.
Iran laughed at us.
Then we got a new president. The Iranians respected the new guy and released the hostages while he was taking the oath of office.
My comments today have nothing to do with political parties. My comments have to do with leadership. And optimism. And the ability to inspire optimism in others.
When times are good, America gets soft. I’ve seen it. But when times get tough, America tightens her belt, rolls up her sleeve and shows her true colors. I’ve seen that, too. All we need is a leader.
Oh, yes. I have one last thing to say:
Kiss my ass, CBS. We’re about to have an election.
Roy H. Williams
“Adversity brings out the best or worst in us.
Advantage puts them both to sleep.”
– Princess Pennie Williams
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