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What does American greatness mean to you?

This topic has had a profound effect on many of our lives in the last year or two. Many have debated through vote and demonstration about American greatness. Where do you stand on this issue? What does American greatness mean to you?

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kensmile4u 8 Feb 6

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Look, we're ballsy enough to try running a government based on the idea that everybody can get along. If nothing else, I applaud our ambition. And America still has potential. We just need to dig out the entrenched cancers holding it back, although that's starting to look like a pretty tall order.


The USA is great in only two things; military and economic might. As far as the former is concerned, it's only the latest of a long series of superpowers going back to Egypt, the Hittites and Rome. In terms of economic power, that's hardly a surprise. It's quite simply the largest of the developed countries, so any equally wealthy countries have smaller economies purely because they're just not as big.


America has never been great. At times, it has been better for certain groups of people. The 'good 'ole days' weren't good when they were experiencing them.


What does "Greatness" mean? Well it's the quality of being great, distinguished, outstanding. The US has never been uniformly great. It has achieved moments of greatness. Intervention in WW1 and 2. But its role in world leadership has been anything but great: witness, Vietnam, Middle East, Afganistan and Iraq. On the other hand the sheer power of its military has provided a balance against dark forces in the world which we shouldn't underestimate. The US's mixed track record in the world is not new. It's been that way since the end of WW2. More misses than hits. It's history of race and native peoples is also hardly a testament to greatness. But it's hardly the only country with shame in this regard, including my own. No, what makes us question the US's greatness now is its loss of idealism. That's what used to be the core of its greatness. America's head might get confused, but it's heart was always in the right place. Now, not so much. America preaches democracy, but hardly practices it. Its political parties are corrupt puppets of the elites, its electoral system a travesty in the 21st Century. It cries foul about interference in its elections, while taking every opportunity to intervene in the affairs of other countries, somehow thinking it has the high moral ground. Its mantra of individualism and opportunity has descended into a twisted parody of those things, a country characterised by class greed, political opportunism and plutocracy. While too many Americans live within the self affirmation of the US's mainstream media's myopia, the rest of the world, certainly the western world, can see contemporary America with withering clarity. America was never and has never been uniformly Great. But at its best it had an ability to rise to Greatness when it needed to. The question is: Can it still do that, or is the Age of American Greatness over?

Thanks for your comprehensive comment.


I love this country but I love it the way that a parent loves a kid. You might love them but you know they're going to fuck up from time to time.

I base my view of America on what the greatest figures in its history intended it to be (folks like some of the founding fathers, Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Neil Armstrong and so on) In my mind the ideals and accomplishments these figures set a standard for what is truly 'American' so to speak and when the country falls short of these standards, it isn't that the idea of America sucks but that folks are being un American. Like Fred Phelps for instance. In my book he was un American.


Although we fail, America is a beacon. Aspiring to end genocide tho we engaged in it. Aspiring to respect the revolutions of other nations tho we crushed them. Aspiring to attain equality & justice for us & our posterity tho we deny them to our own citizens. Without the aspirations that our Preamble denotes, we would not be great. Greatness is the continuation of striving towards the ideal. That we shall fail in achieving it but to continue to strive towards it, is our greatness. And that we inspire other nations to exceed us in this endeavor, is inspirational.

@kensmile4u Indeed.

@Countrywoman Sorry, I deleted my reply because I thought it only diminished what you wrote. Your good words should stand alone!


It's hard to lose greatness you never had. We have done some remarkable things and for many years, we lead the world in many areas, but those days are over. We are dragging behind in so many critical areas, health care, infant mortality, education to name a few.

Then when you consider slavery(and discrimination that still exists) and the despicable way we treated the Native Americans, to this day! Well, we are not as humanitarian as we would like people and other countries to believe.


America will be great the day it confronts and actively seeks to make amends for its two great crimes against humanity: slavery, and the genocide of Native Americans.

Until then, it's just another empire. Built on some better ideas than most, but still, an empire.

Well put!


America has never been great. It’s that simple, we have stood on the backs of others hard work and claimed it as our own. We have oppressed peoples who didn’t look the same as “us” time and time again. We don’t accept the blame for anything even when it’s clearly our wrong doing

@Countrywoman Thanks for your good comment. Someone wrote a good comment to this post that might change the way you see the situation. Basically her comment says our greatness is in our relentless pursuit of ideals which were set forth in our constitution during a collective moment of localized brilliance in our history. We have had other moments of success and brilliance afterwards which resulted in collective progress. In my opinion the measure of our future greatness will be our struggle to keep progressing together regardless of the collective hardship. I have added her to this reply so you can read her words.


The United States of America has never been great. It has always been a work in progress. Some members of our government like to see progress halted at all cost. Some have a different view and wish to push us into the future with a sense of dignity. We've seen democracy work. Some individuals seek to tear down all that has been built because of their personal beliefs. We need to make our representatives represent the people not the corporations.

Gohan Level 7 Feb 7, 2018

I agree. There are no words in our constitution that say "We the Corporations".


It makes me fearful, when Amerikkka was "great" I would have either been in Slavery or swinging from a tree. No, we are not great, we have a large group of people within our country that would better serve us if they were not here with us. All who use this phrase with tRump are ones who need to LEAVE...

I agree there are many citizens who pose an existential threat other citizens. But if having them leave is not plausible, what alternative strategy should we use?


Any "greatness" that the US ever had came on the graves of natives and the backs of slaves, so I don't believe we can really say it was great at all.

Thanks for your comment. I agree the indigenous population of the Americas was not treated well. Certainly slavery is an equal abomination. The story is the same for most of "civilization" across the globe. For example there is historical literature documenting genocide and slavery of one tribe committed against another during the Indian wars before the "settlers" arrived. Other examples are the stories of genocide and slavery of indigenous europeans during the Roman and Ottoman Empires. When I pull back and look at this from a dispassionate global perspective, It starts to look like typical Darwinian activity that can be seen in any species. I know this view is unsympathetic to surviving stakeholders. To that I say we should not be absolved from reparations in America because we strive to be great.


America has never been great, though there have been moments of greatness.


Our greatness comes from immigrants taking a chance coming to a country where there is a chance to have a better life . There is a lot we could to make it better and I wouldn't say it's the greatest .


This is a great country! There is not one country that hasn't made some terrible mistakes. I am proud to to be American. I don't think we'r perfect, but we are a great republic. I think the world had a different opinion during WW2. We weren't the only ones involved in slavery. However my family fought in the civil war to free slaves! America's greatness is it's stand for freedom.


depends who you ask. id say the indigenous peoples would say it all went tits up when immigrants all came and made the country there own with genocide on the backs of slavery.

sorry im dyslexic and if you sore my riting like now without an app called gammerly youd see how bad i really am. if you sore my hand riting you would think a 3 year old rote it. then agane my art is very good.i believe im qite inteligent too.

@LeighShelton Well I understood every word you wrote. Since I can't draw a straight line myself, you have my admiration for your art. 🙂

Let's be clear. Individuals never declared war on anyone. It was the government that did that.
I actually find it ironic that so many people want a big government, and then use the demise of "natives" to validate some other argument.

thank you @David1955. @Taijiguy I think all governments are corrupt and I'm not in America either so don't care about your government quite frankly or mine. like you, it's the cards I was dealt. I can't help where I was born after all any more than you can. let's be clear, I made a true statement, no more, no less.

@LeighShelton I think your charcoal drawing is very good!

thank you so much, Ken

I've just realised I didn't right invaders lol. I should take my own advice and look before I leap.i am happy to admit when I'm wrong.I meant to say invading murdering slave keeping immigrant. silly me

@LeighShelton Wow this one of Marilyn is really good too!


But it can get it back if it stops voting for that damn Republican Party and the loonies who comprise it.

Apparently you're among those who don't realize the left wing and the right wing are both wings of the same bird. If you think either party ultimately cares about anything but its own survival you aren't paying attention.

@Taijiguy Fair point. But the Republican Party has mutated into something truly embrionic fascist and dangerous, to all of us, not just the US. It must be exposed and fought against.

@David1955 You might want to review the true definition of fascism. Just because it's popular for democrats to try to hang that word around the necks of the right, it's misapplied.Stop hanging on blindly to a political party. Both parties have their good points, but both largely suck, and are jointly sapping the life and freedoms from this country.

@Taijiguy Hardly. Despite his drawbacks Obama resuscitated your country from the mess of the Bush years. The rest of the world knows this. I repeat, embrionic fascism. I studied political science at university. Have degrees in it, I know what it means.

"Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe"
if you believe one party is more guilty of that than another, you're not as informed as you think. Step away from the "Occupy Democrats" memes. They aren't reliable news sources.

@Taijiguy you do know the meaning of embryonic? These republicans have only started. You think I like the Democrats? I'm a Bernie guy, and I'm in Australia.

@David1955 a Bernie guy would mean socialist, which still means Democrat, since that's the direction they're pushing for. which will never work here. If your educational system is anything like ours, don't take your polisci education too seriously. The solution to too much government, isn't more government. Once upon a time, before our government got out of control, we were the most powerful and respected country in the world. And it was our constitutional republic that made us that way.


As an outsider I consider it maybe an oxymoron

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