Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Let's Think Big Thoughts For a Change

Seminole Canyon State Park
Seminole Canyon State Park (Photo credit: NixBC)

People think that it’s Texans that have a tendency to brag about size, but the fact is, Americans in general have an obsession with bigness. Check out our TV ads, the size of servings in our restaurants, and American cars; if it ain’t big, we don’t seem to think much of it.

Well, I’m here to tell you – and history proves me out – bigger ain’t always better, and it doesn’t always ensure victory. We were way bigger than the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, but they fought us to a standstill in Vietnam, forcing a declaration of ‘victory’ and withdrawal. The Seminoles, in the 1840s, were a small force, but they held the entire U.S. military at bay through three disastrous wars. Eventually, many Seminoles were relocated from Florida to Oklahoma, but some 600 held out in the Florida swamps even after that.

While we have this thing about bigness, this doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to thinking. In that arena, we’re tiny. We fail to learn even from our own history – and don’t even ask us to consider and understand the history of others.

Why this rant? Well, it’s 2013 and long past time for us to face reality. We’re the most powerful nation on the planet, but you wouldn’t know that from looking at how we act sometimes. Our domestic politics is like a gang of bullies on the playground standing around in a circle bragging about who has the bigger (you name it), and we deal with weighty issues like first-time teen drivers playing chicken on some backcountry road.

We’re never going to stop being in love with bigness – but, I’d feel a lot more comfortable if, for a change, we started thinking big thoughts to go along with our big words and grand gestures.

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