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WHAT HAPPENED? Americans Used to Rise to the Challenge; Not So Much Anylonger

The term Paper tiger is a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhilaohu. The term refers to something that seems threatening but is ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge. The expression became well known in the West as a slogan used by Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist state against its opponents, particularly the U.S. government.   One can only imagine what the rest of the world thinks of the United States now. Once the most powerful, once the most admired, once the most envied, we have become that symbol of ineffectiveness.

Several people, whom I greatly admire, would probably be spinning in their graves if they could see and comprehend the depths to which our beloved country has sunk.  From George Washington, who faced a professional army, the most powerful in the world at the time, with a ragtag put-together army of mostly farmers and tradesmen, and then went on to defeat the enemy…to George S. Patton, a tough-talking, quick-acting tank-commanding soldier who would have gone straight into the heart of his enemy’s country, had he not been stopped.   There was Dwight Eisenhower who commanded the largest invasion force of World War Two.  Then there’s Nimitz, Spruance, Halsey and King of the US Navy, who brought the fleets back from near extinction to rout the Japanese in the Pacific.

All throughout our history we have had men and women who rose to the challenge and did what had to be done…because they dared to be daring.   Today, the arena is much different.   Political correctness has become the de facto law of the land, and not to the betterment of the people.   One cannot speak plainly these days, but must couch their language in euphemisms.   Even complimenting a co-worker on his or her appearance can get you embroiled in a lawsuit!   Chivalry, in the form of opening a door for a woman, or offering a light for her cigarette (for those rare ones that are still smoking) might get you, at the very least, a dressing-down.   What have we come to?

In an earlier piece, I asked if this country was making anything anymore, and got several replies to my question.   It seems that if you dig deep enough you can find just about anything you may want, and it will be made in America.  For that, I’m grateful to those folks that took the time to tell me about it.   Naturally, because the product may be of a superior level, it might cost a bit more, and that’s alright too.   We definitely need to get back to making things in this country, and to put people back to work.  

A couple of things that might help accomplish that would be to enact THE FAIR TAX, which is a VERY simple tax system.  Everybody pays, nobody is loop-holed, or exempted, and the entire bill as it was originally presented to Congress was only 135 pages long. 

One of the other things that would benefit this country is to have qualified teachers teaching our young people. The halls of academia, from kindergarten to college, seem to be overflowing with folks that are systematically dumbing-down our students…either deliberately, or because they don’t know any different.   School should be where the kids are taught to think, to question, to reason…not just sit there and absorb whatever the instructor is putting out.   Don’t teach for the test, teach so that the student is interested enough to want to know more, to know how, to reason why such-and-such is so, and not just take it for granted.  

One of the men that I admired was Robert Kennedy.  He said, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”   Will we produce people that make it to Mars?   Will we produce people that find a cure for some of the world’s medical ills?  Will we produce statesmen and women that truly understand what their job is?

Sputnick 1, launched into space into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, caught the United States and the rest of the world by surprise.   Another Kennedy, John Fitzpatrick, and another man I greatly admired, told the world we would not only catch up, but we would put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth…and we did, and we did it before the Russians.   Now, we are hitching rides with the Russians, on their space vehicles, and paying dearly for the seats.   What the hell happened to America in the years in between?   We scrapped our space shuttles which were, to be sure, past their prime, before we had any sort of replacement…hence the begging at Russia’s door to get a ride.

Once again, these are the ravings of an old alarmist, but what if the things I’ve worried about, come true?

Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired


Larry Usoff

Larry Usoff, US Navy Retired. Articulate. Opinionated. Patriotic. Conservative. Cultured enough so that I can be taken almost anywhere. Makes no excuses for what I say or do, but takes responsibility for them. Duty. Honor. Country. E-mail me at:

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