As our nation continues to go deeper and deeper into debt, it is easy to forget that the reason our nation rose to greatness – that brought us to the world stage, that gave us the voice to lead – was science, technology, and innovation… with creativity and ingenuity that far surpassed the dreams of tomorrow, because of investments in STEM education but even more importantly, because of a burning desire within each American, to build a better tomorrow through a better understanding of nature and our place within it.
But today, we’re seeing that desire eclipsed by complacency and ideology, on both ends of the political spectrum. Congress is in gridlock, and our population has become just as politically polarized, with Congress being nothing more than a reflection of our general mindset. We let talking heads on the news and radio dictate our beliefs. We let other opinions sway us to think a certain way.
We have taken our American exceptionalism for granted, thinking it was merely given to us or bestowed upon us, and that the very continuation of it needs nothing more than our belief that we are exceptional! Nothing could be further from the truth. Our previous generations labored long and hard to get us to where we were in the 20th Century. Without that discipline, without that effort, without that individual desire for innovation, we would not have reaped the rewards of global leadership.
Today, through “government shutdowns,” “fiscal cliffs,” “sequestrations,” and political infighting, we all lose. And yet, the world continues to grow and advance in science, technology, and innovation. Will we maintain our lead? Will we rediscover that inspiration to lead us forward?