This controversy that's been injected into the country's discourse about "Making America Great Again" drives me nuts.
Does that mean that America is not great?
What sepia-colored America would those who espouse this position have us return to? The one where we threw up suburbia in a virtual heartbeat and then blithely made it all bright and shiny by using toxic paints, and equipping it with an infrastructure held together by lead pipes, asbestos and lead-based solder?
Or the McCarthy-era one, when every dissenter was a communist? The one where almost half the states in the U.S. operated under the quaint delusion that separate could, indeed, be equal?
Or maybe the America whose moral leaders were routinely gunned down, one after another; when a toxic, ill-conceived war in Southeast Asia tore us apart; when race riots torched our cities and scarred our collective psyche; or when gas was cheap, plentiful and fully leaded?
Or maybe it's the 1970's version of America marked by things like a body of water so polluted it somehow caught fire, not to mention the seeping death that made its way into the groundwater of Buffalo's Love Canal, both of which were eventually compelled to cede the front page to more pressing issues like bankrupt cities, cult murders, plant closings, long gas lines, and a Mideast hostage crisis?
Seriously, what "great" version of America are we being asked to return to?
This is an honest question for me, because I can't believe there are people out there who don't recognize the amazing things happening in the our country today, societal, technical and industrial developments that not only remind us how great we are as a people, but how much greater we are going to be in the future?
For many years, I worked in manufacturing. I lived through that sector's first exodus, which at the time seemed like the end of the world. But manufacturing is moving back to America in droves, drawn here by quantum leaps in technology, automation, talent, and newer, cleaner and far more sustainable energy sources.
Elon Musk has certainly been a big contributor to this trend, and the coming merger of his energy storage technology company with his acquisition of Solar City is the ground floor of a fundamental change in how we power our emerging green economy.
And if you want to see the job creation power of that economy, look no further than VIEW Dynamic Glass and its windows that maximize natural light and reduce electricity consumption by an average of 20 percent. Made in a state-of-the-art hi-tech glass manufacturing facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, these intelligent windows are being specced every day by architects and designers who are using technology to improve the health and comfort of building occupants and save money for building owners.
Societal changes are making a difference as well, as a uniquely American "maker society" is springing up everywhere. People have opened small businesses, planted seeds for future wealth, and created tens of thousands of homegrown, U.S.-based jobs - often with seed money stored in cookie jars. That is virtually the exact same scenario that has played itself out time and time again over the decades, a scenario on whose shoulders we have achieved global economic greatness.
Does America have its share of problems? Absolutely, and we likely always will. But do our deep and bountiful assets, our documented resilience, our many freedoms, our ability to rally around one another, our young people, our thinkers, our dreamers, and our stunning cultural diversity give us what amounts to a nuclear arsenal in a knife fight?
You bet it does. We need to put an end to the divisive rhetoric that stokes fear and feeds doom and gloom and instead celebrate our unique American bounty, because when we leverage it full scale, we're only going to become greater, and we'll all benefit.