Back then, I never expected to write these words: America Is Not Great, but an article in the New York Times, Please Stop Telling Me America is Great, aroused some thoughts I tried to ignore.

America is not great, but the flag is a symbol of unity. It should not be an excuse for ignorance.
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A teenager, growing up in Upstate New York, I flipped to the back pages of a textbook to see charts about things like agricultural production, shipping and manufacturing. America came out first so often it came off as bragging.

More assorted ideas…

Of course, there were things we weren’t first in. For example, our record on racial equality was dreadful, and social tolerance was close to nonexistent in the era’s conformist hell.

But you still felt proud when they sang America the Beautiful, or when you stood tall for The Star Spangled Banner.

Things changed, and not for the better.

We’ve, in fact, fallen far behind the countries we rescued in World War II.

I think military might went to our heads, but it could be something else. We used to say we could not be “policeman to the world,” but we pretty much have.

Can we be great again? Were were ever as amazing as they told us we were?

If we were, how did we get to this fallen state?

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