Jack Simpson - Will America cede title of greatest nation?

How are we doing? The response of many Americans is "terrible." Is it only food and fuel prices, financial crisis in the housing market, the war, consumer confidence in the economy? Perhaps, but other factors are present.

It seems that our culture and moral order is also in trouble. We feel our American dream is fading away and no one seems able or willing to do much about it. The country many grew up in seems to be passing into history and what has replaced it isn't always that encouraging.

Illegal immigrants and foreign trained terrorists are in our midst. Some are not loyal to this country. They are invading us without firing a shot, and, like it or not, they are bringing their own culture and history. They are slowly deconstructing our own nation. Some are sleepers waiting to do us harm.

Of more immediate concern is our economy. Many people have lost their jobs, pension and health benefits. For these people about to face foreclosure and their homes, the mood is gloomy. Can you blame them for being pessimists?

America once had the reputation of being the greatest nation in the world. We now have enemies we never dreamed would turn against us. We always felt like if we worked hard, we could share in the American dream. We had energy, vitality and we cherished our freedom. Who had better manufacturing skills and technology? We now have outsourced our factories and many of our jobs. There are dark clouds over our dreams.

Oil demand abroad is greater than ever. Chinese people who once rode bicycles are buying and driving automobiles. Americans are trading in SUVs for economy vehicles and thinking about riding bicycles to economize. Our power is being transferred to the oil producers, who are becoming more powerful, politically.

Americans talk about getting away from foreign oil dependence by developing new fuel sources, developing biofuels, changing their driving habits, drilling more wells and building better cars.

Can we do it? Will we do it?

We can be consoled by knowing the economic strain is being felt around the world. People are experiencing food shortages and rising prices. They are struggling as we are in Great Britain, Germany, Peru, Japan and elsewhere. Many poor nations are in crisis. We all seem to be in the same boat.

In spite of our problems, Americans know we have much to be thankful for. We may be sick, but we can fight and unite, and keep it all together.

Those who study our problems recommend, among other things, that we quit catering to special interests, knuckle down and get the job done. We need to bring home some of the jobs we have outsourced and put our unemployed to work.

Instead of choosing advisors because of their long friendship with members of the administration, we should staff our government offices with trained professionals. These career employees know how to serve the interests of the people. It would help to have employees able to speak their own minds instead of employees who must rely on speech writers to put words in their mouths. Please feel free to add your own suggestions to the list as we have just concluded another celebration of Independence Day.

We are still proud to celebrate this great birthday of the United States of America! We still live in the greatest country in the world in spite of our problems.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.