Myth: The myth of America’s decline

Every now and then I read an Op-ed from a major media outlet that is so riddled with factual oversights that even I’m amazed. To read paragraphs that convey absolutely nothing but some form of zen from an industry that should take honor in concrete facts, well, it causes my fingers to twitch rapidly across the keyboard and write blog updates like this. This special occasion is brought to you by Rob Asghar and his article at CNN which is titled “The myth of America’s decline“.

If you haven’t done so, you might want to read the article (linked above) so you can understand my criticisms. Normally I would just navigate away from such fodder and move on with life but knowing the socioeconomic decline that has taken place in the past few decades, I have to respond. Simply put, it’s crappy perspectives like his that make the country worse by presenting a false view.

My first read of the article left me rather confused as I couldn’t fully determine if Rob Asghar is just ignorantly optimistic about the state of the Union or if he just needed to soul vomit some piece of fluff in order to satisfy the requirements of his editors. Either way the article is bad. It’s horribly bad.

Asghar espouses the unprecedented slant that our condition as a nation is ok because we possess a greater socioeconomic integration than other nations (such as China & India). It’s a position he first founds by accusing naysayers of having a “panicked perspective”. When the ship is sinking, I think panic is a perfectly natural perspective. And let’s have no doubt about it, America bears much resemblance to historical Rome.

Such resemblances escape Asghar’s article though. He does however do quite well at elaborating on the poor conditions in India due to that “Ghandi spirit” before he goes on to say:

Meanwhile, America is the best at being America, because America is the closest thing to a society that unambivalently enjoys being American.

Seriously Rob (can I call you Rob?), did you run that sentence past your 6th grade teacher? How it got past your editor is beyond me. I know the adage: when you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS. Maybe there’s a few writing forums you can look to on the internet? Such Zen should be banned from journalistic op-eds. Shame on you CNN.

It gets much worse though. Asghar must have found himself in a fantasy land when he said:

American culture is peculiarly tilted toward valuing disruptive new ideas and welcoming the immigrant who brings such ideas into its society.

Seriously? I had to read that paragraph twice. I was born in this country and I am all too aware of America’s treatment of immigrants. It’s shameful. Volumes have been written about this country’s abuse of immigrants. Saying this country embraces immigrants who bring disruptive new ideas is a blatant historical falsehood. Asghar should just take it a step further and talk about how we valued (and continue to value) the native American Indians.

If there was any glimmer of hope in the article, it was found in the statement:

Americans may block their own path and sabotage their own cultural tilt toward innovative growth if political dysfunction continues.

Unfortunately there is no expounding upon the statement and one is left to guess what “dysfunction” actually means in the context of his writing. If he means anything like bailing out corrupt banks with tax payer money and insider trading by congress then I think he could have used a stronger word. The verbal weakness with which he speaks of American circumstance could have been summed up just by saying, “Ehhh….. other nations are worse”.

America’s socioeconomic problems should not be washed under the rug of ignorance by a comparison to developing countries. We should judge ourselves using honor and integrity (politically & culturally) as the appropriate metrics. On that basis alone, our nation is in decline. Writing Op-eds with a positive outlook won’t make it any better and writing op-eds that are factually incorrect will certainly make it worse. The Myth of America’s decline is no myth and it’ll take better arguments to convince me otherwise.

3 Responses to Myth: The myth of America’s decline

  1. Pingback: Myth of Americans Decline: A Response | Jon Kokko

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