How America Can Rise Again: A Critique

Topics: United States, World War II, Political philosophy Pages: 6 (1294 words) Published: May 24, 2014


How America Can Rise Again – A Critique
POL101 – Introduction to Political Science
Colorado State University
November 12, 2013

How America Can Rise Again – A Critique
James Fallow’s article “How American Can Rise Again” for The Atlantic Magazine is a thought provoking piece addressing the issues and fears facing a nation that may potentially be on the brink of losing its title as leader and innovator of the free world (2010). The article takes a fair-minded approach to identifying many of the greatest fears Americans have concerning a fall-from-grace of the country, its economy, education, military and political system. Fallow supports his arguments well using a mix of historical and political references as well as modern day events, viewpoints and the words of various authors, leaders and figureheads. I do agree with Fallow’s perspective in that there is potential for America to continue to excel as a global leader and we as citizens hold the power to manifest our own destiny. The Questions

Fallow opens up his article with a personal travel reference concerning the three years he spent in China. That point is tied to the reality that even though China is becoming a global economic powerhouse, average American life, our grocery stores, cars and sizeable backyards, surpasses that of China and many other countries around the globe. He goes on to discuss our modern day shortcomings; lack of cell phone coverage, technologically antiquated hospitals, damaged freeways and desperate need of better public transportation systems. He then poses his thesis question, “are the fears of this moment our era’s version of the “missile gap? Are they anything more than a combination of the two staple ingredients of doom-and-darkness statements through the whole course of our history” (Fallows, 2010, p.1)? This is not the First Time for America

The first point Fallow brings to the forefront of his editorial to answer his two-parted question is that since the inception of The United States of America many have felt the country was on the brink of disaster (2010). The idea is simple and resonates easily. Pick any decade in America’s history and you can find strife that could be communicated as a catalyst to end all things American. Again, answering simply and effectively he states, “and of course any discussion of American problems in any era must include the disclaimer: the Civil War was worse” (Fallows, 2010, p.2). Truer words could not have been written. As dismal as it may seem today, with infighting across the aisle of congress creating so much political stagnation that ultimately governmental shut-down is caused, we are still very, very far away from taking arms against each other. As Fallows points out we continue to progress and outpace many other countries when it comes to issues of civil rights and racism, women’s rights, gay rights, and immigration reform (2010). America has been here before and we are still moving forwards. Not only are we moving forwards, but many times in history we have advanced by leaps and bounds when our backs were to the wall. For example, the technological advances in nuclear physics that were a result of the Manhattan Project’s objective to create the atom bomb before Germany which ultimately shortened World War II (Nuclear Files, 2013). Is America Falling Behind?

Fallow goes on to tackle the fears of America falling behind the rest of the world. As he brings to light, we have feared this throughout history from the former Soviet Union, the Japanese, the Germans and today with China and India. Fallow’s point is that only after World War II did we as a country measure ourselves against the other countries of the globe. Prior to that time we were only concerned with falling short of our own expectations and virtues (Fallow, 2010). I agree that we need to focus more on the advancements that can be controlled within our own boarders as opposed to being...

References: Fallows, J. (2010, January/February). How America can rise again. The Atlantic Magazine.
Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/01/how-america-can-rise-again/7839/1/
Nuclear Files (2013). Manhattan project. Nuclear Files.org.
Retrieved from http://www.nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/history/pre-cold-war/manhattan-project/
Wax, E (2010 November). Outsourcing U.S. jobs a source of tension on Obama’s India Trip. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/11/06/AR2010110603920.html
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