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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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A Politically Incorrect Message for Thanksgiving Day about America's Greatness

I am inspired by the ranting ramblings of a fellow garden blogger who, a few months ago, before the U.S. mid term elections, expressed how mad, how very mad, he was about the deterioration in every aspect of American life. He begged his readers to get back on track, to re discover that which made America great.

I, on the other hand, am not mad; however, I am dismayed for I have noticed a deterioration of another sort: - it is the undermining of previously high standards in our society, in order to be politically correct and not offend those who were born less talented. My position is that by accepting less than perfect we have all contributed to the deterioration in America’s greatness.

Once upon a time, America rewarded only the talented. And then, we were assaulted with political correctness; suddenly everyone’s endeavors became great simply because they tried. It became socially unacceptable to allow only the best to shine. A very bad message was being disseminated. It informed the mediocre that they were equal to the best. Some will make the argument that this is a consequence of the continuing democratization of society that on one hand, is trying to diminish the importance of the elite and, on the other hand, praises the weak so that they might feel good about themselves.

That philosophy led to long term negative consequences. By accepting work that was less than superlative, we allowed third world countries, with low wage scales but high levels of education and ambition, to snatch away whole categories of jobs, leaving large gaps in our employment roles. And, of course, by encouraging poor people to purchase homes they could not realistically afford to maintain, we helped to create a financial crisis that is not yet completely resolved and which contributes in some ways to a weakness in a segment of our economy.

Rewarding those that are destined to lose, together with those that are about to win, may appear to be noble behavior. However, on some level, it doesn’t feel right. Are there no standards of excellence that we are supposed to try to achieve? Is being mediocre a good thing? For a very long time, my respect for other people’s ideologies held me back from publicly disagreeing with the adage that it’s OK just to do your personal best. Now I feel strongly that personal best is not enough. Striving for excellence and achieving high, exemplary standards should become our new goals. Aiming to be judged the very best contributes to helping a nation achieve greatness.

In an age when other countries have started to overshadow the USA, both economically and diplomatically, it is no longer safe to do your own thing or to simply do your best. The more successful we become internally, the more difficult it will be to dislodge the USA as one of the most powerful nations on earth. As of this moment, we have already begun our descent into second place with a prediction that, in the end, we will end up in third place. Is that what we want to happen? I don’t think so.

The best proof one can offer about striving to be best is the recent success story of the Ford Motor Company. Once, they were renowned for making clunkers. I owned a Ford Taurus in the 1990’s and spent a minimum of one day a month at the service desk of a Ford dealership getting my car repaired at Ford’s expense. As soon as the warranty expired, I switched over to a Honda Accord and never saw the inside of a service department for years. My experience with Ford and my decision to buy a Japanese car was repeated countless times across North America until Ford got the message that it was not OK to be mediocre. Wisely, they began a long journey of re invention. Last year, when both the Chrysler and GM auto firms were floundering and asked the Federal government for funds to stay afloat, Ford did not need to join the begging line. They had long since discovered the strength in striving for excellence and that strategy had paid off. Today, on the morning news, I heard that they are planning to open over 400 car dealerships in China. Yes, China! That’s the country that might overtake us and bump us into second place, a country whose industrial capacity is powerful enough to compete against any American manufacturer. Instead, it is embracing Ford. The company that once made clunkers is now a star on the world’s stage.

It’s OK to be the winner; there is nothing to be ashamed of; nothing to apologize for. It’s no longer OK to do our own thing. We must all do the right thing!  And, when we understand what it takes to succeed, we need to be certain that we give it much more than our very best shot. Perhaps, like Ford, all of us will learn how to compete on the world’s playing field, once again. To my respected fellow garden blogger, who is distraught about the deterioration of every aspect of American life, I suggest that we need to re discover what it means to be great.

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Reader Comments (3)

I disagree it is wrong to do our own thing. I think we MUST do our own thing....but we must do it with excellence in mind.

The same view is starting to chip away at excellence in learning. Somehow, somewhere....we no longer value those who are quick to learn what they are taught. Being smart in school is not a good thing anymore, those who excell are hiding it. This is NOT a good thing.

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

excel, not excell

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

Jumping up and down reading this post!!!!!!! I work my fool tail off and no wonder I'm so successful ;). I left home at 15 with I'm living in my dream house.

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Flowergardengirl

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