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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remember America?

Some time in the not-too-distant future, I can envision a discussion between friends, colleagues or just people somewhere on Earth making conversation...

"Remember America?"

"Do you mean North or South America?"

"No - America - the US - United States"

"Oh yeah; I took a test on that in History class the other day..."

Far-fetched, you say?

I'm not so sure.

Remember the Mesopotamians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, English, Soviets...?

Think of all the big empires in history and where they are now. Sure, Rome is still around, as are the Greeks and the British but they carry a fraction of the global influence of their ancestors.

Walt Disney had it right...

If nothing else, considering the precarious financial position of the US economy, I don't think it's that much of a stretch to see a future in which the USA is not the dominant global force it has been for the last century or so.

Socially, the US population is evolving. The American Dream used to be a collective goal, but I fear that nowadays it has become more an individual goal. And once we go down the path toward individualism, the empire will slowly decay, and eventually disappear.

What's in it for me?

In this NPR segment, several folks were interviewed concerning their ideas about what constitutes the American Dream. It turns out, their dreams really don't have much to do with America at all. From this article and others, I would propose that this generation, coined as First Globals by the pollster John Zogby, are making the leap from the bottom of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs straight to the top.

It's all about ME!

At first listen - I heard the NPR segment on the radio this morning - it all sounds wonderful. We've got these young people who are breaking the bonds of nationalism and making decisions about life goals based on what other people need vs. what makes them happy. But digging deeper, I've come to the conclusion that the First Globals are every bit as self-centered as previous generations, they're just more well-traveled.

Let's look at a couple of quick excerpts:

'Capizzi also says her American dream is better than that of her parents, because she and people like her aren't afraid to literally go anywhere to accomplish their goals."I think that my generation will be more fulfilled than my parents' generation," she says.'

'"People will always rent you apartments wherever you go, [and] not every woman wants to have a child and be a mother, and be in the house all the time," Larr says.

She could even do without the marriage.

"I've been in a really long-term relationship, and we're really happy the way we are. We can be committed to each other without necessarily having someone approve it," she says.'

Zogby's quote regarding where we are headed with the First Globals is a little chilling: 

'"[There are] going to be so many families out there where Papa's in Singapore and Mama's in Mauritius, and Baby is somewhere back and forth," he says.'

Really? Someone better call Family Services.

Sam Sanders, the author of the article/segment closes with his own chilling prognostication:

"The question is, what will that baby's dream be? And will it even be called American?"

Don't get me wrong; I have lived overseas, between Britain and the Middle East roughly thirteen years of my life. I've traveled in Thailand, India, Haiti, Africa, Europe...I've lived the life that these people are talking about. In fact, I think every American should travel abroad for some period of time - not as tourists - but to actually live in other cultures. 

I guess the difference between me and the First Globals is that my foreign experiences taught me to appreciate the things that make America great. It sounds like the new generation would rather have us assimilated into the world collective.

What would you do if there were no more America?


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