Saturday Thoughts

In a continuation of America, I have thought long and hard this week on so many things (more about this on Tuesday)… but for today, I thought it’d be good to highlight the things which prove exceptionalism is something worth striving for still.  America has impacted the world in so many ways in which people don’t realize could only happen because Americans once recognized that people were endowed by their Creator not just with inalienable rights, but also being created in His image, endowed with gifts and talents to do good.  That is why America is a Constitutional Republic.

When I was a young adult, I worked at the same printing company as my dad. I worked in the bindery section of the plant, on the folder machines, and packed flyers, inserts and other type of promotional materials for chain stores into boxes for shipping. It was about an hour drive into the city and my dad drove us to work. He always had talk radio on, the all-news all the time type station, but one thing I looked forward to every drive home in the afternoon was Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story.

He always had something interesting to talk about. Now in the age of computers and sites like you tube, there are a lot of old shows found, and Harvey is still one of my favorites. In his broadcast “From Freedom to Chains” in 1965, he mentioned, “Twenty years from today, half of the products you will be using in your everyday living aren’t even in the dictionary…”

He was so right. There are so many things which were dreams or ideas back then which have been made into reality.

Think about it for a few minutes, the following are just a fraction of what has come out of this nation:

The postal service, telegraph and telephone were all invented in America or by Americans and made worldwide communication possible. The transistor, which replaced vacuum tubes in electronics, is what makes it possible to work, read or do social media on your PC or I Pad. If you’re listening to music as you read, you can thank the transistor for that too. If you have a hearing aid, which was also invented by an American, that is also a beneficiary of the invention of the transistor.

The first commercially produced computer came out of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1950. In 1956 MIT researchers built the TX-0, the first general-purpose, programmable computer built with transistors. In 1974 researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center designed the Alto which was the first work station with a built-in mouse for input.
Of course, Microsoft was founded by Americans Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. It dominated the personal computer operating system by the mid-1980s, and was followed by Microsoft Windows in 1984. In 1976 American electronics wiz Steve Wozniak designed the Apple-1, and with the help and ingenuity of his best friend Steve Jobs, Apple Computer, Inc. was born.

Google, Facebook and twitter were all created by Americans.

The invention of the transistor threw the doors wide open to music lovers all over the world… and then came You Tube.

Until then, the phonograph, which was invented in 1877 by American Thomas Edison, was the only way to listen to favorite music without going to a symphony or concert.

While tragedy and comedy in theater has been around since the Greeks and plays made popular by Shakespeare, big musical productions by the great composers such as the Gershwin brothers are uniquely American as well when put to the silver screen.

American film brought cartoon animals to life through the animation of Walt Disney and the Looney Tunes from Warner Brothers. America found figures or stories from other nations and wove them into epics – Moses, Spartacus and Lawrence of Arabia.

America took heroes and made movies out of them too- The Spirit of St. Louis, Pride of the Yankees and Patton. They gave us feel good stories of fictional heroes from Rocky Balboa the small time made huge boxer to the simple but extraordinarily deep Forrest Gump. They made sure the rest of the world knew heroism in Sergeant York, Tora, Tora, Tora, and The Great Escape.

Without computers, animation and film we wouldn’t have epics such as Star Wars, Dances with Wolves or even Lord of the Rings and so many other incredible movies which depended on computer imaging. Nor would we have a new generation of favorite computer generated characters from Animation producers such as Pixar.

And then there is the automotive industry. While cars weren’t invented exclusively by Americans, the auto industry was revolutionized when the basic concept of the assembly line was introduced by Ransom Olds in 1901, through his motor vehicle company in Michigan and more so by the production of the Ford Model T by Henry Ford’s motor company in 1908. The modern electric traffic light was invented in 1912 by Lester Wire, a policeman from Salt Lake City, Utah and travel has been made safer because of the first crash test dummy which was developed in 1949 by Samuel W. Alderson an inventor from California.

Everything following from the Wright brothers has come from American dreamers and developers even if the dreams began centuries ago.

Americans dreamed as they watched a Russian satellite named Sputnik float across the night sky. The dreams of flight and space have been shared around the world for centuries, but it was America who put footprints on the moon.

From Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman reciting ‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth…’ from the Book of Genesis in the Bible on Christmas Eve, 1968, while aboard Apollo 8 as they made their final pass around the moon and headed for home… To the tragedy of January 28, 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded minutes after take-off, and seven astronauts, including civilian school teacher Christa McAuliffe ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God’, America has been dedicated to stretch the imaginations of people all over the world and dare to think of the next great frontier adventures.

America has given lifesaving treatments and medical devices such as the pacemaker invented in 1932 by American physiologist Albert Hyman and the anesthetic ventilator developed in 1949 by American engineer John Haven Emerson. One of the MRI pioneers was American doctor and scientist Raymond Damadian. In 1971 he discovered that MRI could be used for medical diagnosis for Cancer tumors and he built the first whole-body MRI scanner in 1977. The use of chemotherapy for cancer treatment started in the 1940s, by two pharmacologists from Yale University, Louis S. Goodman and Alfred Gilman. America has been on the frontlines in life saving pharmaceuticals as well.

America has given the world the Gospel for spiritual needs as well as physical needs provided by American missionaries. More has been given through Americans towards charities and help in aid and disasters than any other nation.

Another name in the radio business I remember from my parents listening to the radio was Canadian broadcaster Gordon Sinclair. I was too young to remember listening to him, (he passed away in 1984) but every once in a while, like the best of Paul Harvey broadcasts, Gordon Sinclair was a Canadian icon in media, and some of his broadcasts are still found on various sites like You Tube.

On 5 June 1973, he first delivered a two page commentary on his radio show on CFRB out of Toronto, called “Let’s Hear it for the Americans” in which he gave epic criticism of negative press and attitudes by so many around the world – mainly for America’s military involvement in Vietnam which had ended six months before at the Paris Peace Accords.
Part of his editorial addresses much of what America has done for the world in so many ways, and how America has gone through many of her own tragedies in which the Americans dealt with alone with no help from the world.

I posted his commentary earlier in the week, but it’s worth listening to- and sharing again,

The point was and still is, as far as this broadcast goes, by Mr. Sinclair’s giving such an scathing defense about those who criticized the U.S., it received a large amount of attention in its day and Americans appreciated it. Many Americans, who have heard it, still appreciate it, as it’s still true and valid now over 40 years later.

America has provided so much to the world, not expecting anything back, and still gives more by asylum, freedom, and precious lives to liberate the oppressed of the world, and have been for the past 200 plus years.

Had communism or socialism been chosen as our government institution when the founders created our government, America never would have flourished for the past 250 years. We can make a wise bet as well that many of the ways in which America has enriched the world never would have happened under a socialist, communist or dictatorial government either.

Even though this is an article, its still an open thread… Welcome to the porch- make yourselves at home.

Have a blessed Saturday all!