Worried about what our Founding Fathers may think?

A recent Gallup Poll determined that 85% of us are proud Americans and 28% of us are “Very Proud” . Answers to another question revealed that 71% of Americans think the Founding Fathers of America would be disappointed in the way their little experiment in democracy turned out. See the poll here

I am neither dismayed nor elated by the polling, but think it asks more questions than it answers. Why do we think think the Founding Fathers would be disappointed in the country of which we’re so proud and why are we concerned about the approbation of men who’ve been dead for over 200 years? Heck, they’re the ones who created this mess, who are they to approve or disapprove?

Interpret it as you will, the current rate of proud Americans is at its highest since the turn of the century.  It was higher during the Clinton years, then took a down turn at the beginning of G.W.’s second term and bottomed out at the end of the Bush era.

To be sure, I count myself in the 85% of proud Americans.  I am proud of the promise of America, the opportunity she offers and her many, many shining moments.  I am proud of the men and women dubbed “The Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw.

Not to be intellectually snobbish, but what is everyone else so proud of?  They hate the President, they distrust the government, Congress’s approval rating is nearing negative numbers and the stated goal of the leaders of the Republican Party is to cause the current administration to fail.  Not exactly a shining example for the emerging democracies of the Middle East.

We recently lost one of the few things in which we were actually first; obesity.  Mexico now has the dubious distinction of being the fattest country in our hemisphere with 33% of its population being fat (only 32% of Americows are).  A few islands out there in the South Pacific have gut-busting populations with over 60% obesity.  The Marshall Islands, a fiercely contested piece of real estate during WWII is one example.

We’re still holding onto first place in the following:
-Most plastic surgeons (18.5% of all the plastic surgeons in the world)
-Breast Augmentation
-Death by Violence
-Small Arms Exports
-Highest per capita expenditure on health care
-Highest per population rate of incarceration
-Highest per ANYTHING expenditure on Defense
-Most wine consumed (12.5% of the world’s annual consumption)

Some of the things in which we trail most civilized nations (and even some not-so-civilized) are:
-Longevity (33rd)
-Infant mortality (34th)
-Freedom of the Press (22nd)
-Health care (37th)
-Education (17th)
-Child care (20-out of 21)
-Retirement security (19th)
-Hourly compensation costs (16th)
-Freedom from corruption (24th)
-Gender equality (22nd)
-Wage distribution (23rd)
-Purchasing power of minimum wage (10th)
-GDP Growth Per Capita (125th)

OK, so we’re not perfect. But it used to be considered patriotic to point out our faults and work to correct them.  Popular sentiment brought about the end of the Vietnam War.  Now we focus on psuedo-patriotic sound bites, pleasing the Founding Fathers and paying homage to carefully selected passages of the Bible.

If they were alive, I suspect the Founding Fathers may have some explaining of their own to do.  What, exactly did James Madison mean by “A well organized militia”?  Why didn’t they think to include women as voters?  Why didn’t they make themselves more clear to avoid the constitutional battles we’ve faced ever since and why didn’t they do something to ensure the end of slavery?  Oh, right. The tobacco lobby.  I guess that’s what they mean when they say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

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