The U.S. leadership has been in distress with some political turmoil. But you (Taiwan Luthiers) may be overstating the problems here in the U.S.
I think you’re always critical of the U.S. due to your personal experiences. But also the information you receive via news and social media make everything U.S. look bad right now, when it’s not all doom and gloom. Most people in the U.S. are doing OK. And we have a new administration coming into control. Let’s see what Biden’s plans can do for the U.S.
This past year I’ve watched too much news and read too many opinions online. I’ve also wondered “Is this the beginning of the end for the U.S.?” Not just an academic question, because my family can choose to live in the U.S. or Taiwan. And I have a bunch of little kids, so I’m concerned with the question of where the U.S. is going in the next 20 to 40 years.
We live in the U.S. now. The U.S. has political and social problems, but still the strongest military, the strongest economy, the best opportunities for upward mobility, the greatest innovation in tech-medicine-business, great universities, and the most personal and economic freedom.
The downside: the benefits of all that “greatness” are not easily available to everyone. If you don’t have connections, education, or money, or if you’re not white, it can be harder to access the opportunities. That’s why I refer to “political and social problems” earlier in this post. Black Lives Matter is correct in identifying a problem: the Civil War in the United States has never really ended and lots of white people refuse to see that our segregated society prevents a huge part of our nation from accessing opportunity.
This is the kind of thing that could lead to, and is leading to conflict in the U.S. But I’m still optimistic because all the numbers and trends show that the white population is in decline, and non-white citizens will soon enough be a majority in the U.S., and “white” people will be a minority. The category called “mixed race” people in the U.S. are also growing at an extremely fast rate, showing that a lot of people in the U.S. are not particularly hung up on racial concerns.
Some of our societal problems will go away as racist old white people die off and become a footnote in history. My only concern is how much upheaval we must endure as crackers feel the need to kick up dust and complain about immigrants, as they try to Make America Great (Again?).
In my day to day life here in the U.S. here’s what I see. I see that businesses are running, a lot of businesses are making record profits, and my local community, and government, and my kids schools, are all working well (while we are all wearing masks). I’m a business owner and I’ve got new clients calling me and throwing money at me. So things are OK in my part of the world. (Although I’m a white, educated, professional, business owner. So my experience is from my own point of view. but I see people working and businesses running all around me, and I’m spreading the wealth around too as I’ve increased my spending on goods and services.)
I also live among a population that I don’t agree with, politically. Serious disagreements, but most people are not in the streets rioting. Those scenes make the news because they are so unusual. Most of us talk to our neighbors, attend town council meetings, vote, and if necessary, file lawsuits. That’s all normal, and it’s all happening peacefully while we get along with our neighbors and go about our lives. The crazy people you see on the news look just as crazy to us Americans as they do to the rest of you.
The really unusual thing that’s been happening in the U.S. is the fact that the anti-government political dissidents took over the white house and have stirred up trouble for four years. That is so unusual that it makes headlines everywhere. But it’s not reflective of how 300-some million people in the U.S. are living.
It’s amazing that new vaccines have been developed and tested, and are starting distribution within one year of the virus outbreak. This is a HUGE success, even as we’re facing the impossible task of “hurry up and distribute and administer 320 million (or 640 million) doses, right now!”
Vaccinations are going to help with the virus. The next generation displacing the current generation is going to help with racial problems (I hope). And the economic and military momentum of the United States will ensure that it’s a fairly stable place for a few more decades. Whether we’re on the decline, or whether we’ll grow stronger, well that’s a good question. And I don’t think anyone can see that far into the future from where we’re sitting.
The U.S. always faces internal dissent and upheaval because we don’t have a centralized system of control, like an authoritarian government. This gives us incredible freedom in our personal, economic, and political lives. The CCP likes to point to this upheaval as our weakness, but it really means we’re going to kick up dust as we fight over our problems, and then settle into a workable compromise that keeps the machine running while ensuring that people’s voices are heard and problems are addressed. And (ideally) from our disagreements comes a compromise that lets us continue innovating and profiting, and living freely.
Within that framework of understanding, I don’t think that the Trump presidency or Black Lives Matter or Covid-19 are going to make the U.S. split apart and fail. It’s a difficult and necessary part of living in a free democracy where the government doesn’t get to control the people. Study the U.S. Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, and you come to realize that the document gives some limited authority to the government, and then lists a whole bunch of things the government isn’t allowed to touch representing our freedoms that government can never mess with. Yes that includes great things like the first amendment, and maybe stupid things like the second amendment.
The result of all this freedom is that observers see it as anarchy or upheaval. But it can also be seen as free people arguing and pushing and deciding for themselves where their nation will go next. Authoritarians and frightened people hate to see this, because they believe it’s a sign of danger or weakness. Freedom loving Americans say “we’re going to figure it out and move forward, don’t bet against us.”