The American image at home and abroad has taken a real beating over the past several years. The widely publicized abuse of war detainees, go-it-alone disdain for the United Nations, most debt held by foreign countries, and a flat refusal to acknowledge global warming as a world problem has left the U.S. with less than a sterling reputation.
Now, we have yet more to ponder about whether U.S. greatness is being displaced by mediocrity and a hunger to be second-rate.
Item: While U.S. companies export jobs to lower-paid foreign workers, as the quality of education in other countries surpasses U.S. schools, and American industrial giants line up at bankruptcy court to plead relief from obligations, a new "success" story is bring trumpeted. It's this: 500 tons of uranium-contaminated soil is being shipped to Utah from Japan to be discarded in the desert.
International Uranium Corp. is touting this feat as something of a technological victory—recognition by the high-tech Japanese that Americans are skilled at running dumps for their industrial waste.
And then there's news that the U.S. Park Service will allow its employees to literally pass the hat to actively solicit funds from individuals as well as corporations to pay for operating public facilities.
Take your pick. Either the U.S. government is so broke it can no longer support public parks or this is a poorly disguised foot in the door to allow park lands to be taken over by corporations and transformed into theme parks.
These are disturbing and desperate signs that it's time to rethink, re-make and return our country to a path on which it can walk safely and proudly.