For the hundredth time, I thank my grandmother from the bottom of my heart for encouraging me to move to the United States of America, the land of opportunity and the beacon of hope.
I continue to work hard. I constantly try to make a difference for people all around me, as my grandmother taught me. Her great-grandson became an internationally recognized physician/scientist, at Harvard, trying to crack the genetic code for human heart disease.
As she pointed out to me in 1975, people in the United States, for the most part, are more affluent, educated, sophisticated, giving and forgiving compared to most of the world. But I am beginning to have some real concerns about the present problems and the future prospects.
I don't see the United States producing much anymore. Whatever we produce, we don't seem to have a competitive edge in the world market. I don't know what happened to all the innovation, ingenuity and honest hard work that made the United States what it is. Can you believe we borrow money from China, so that we can buy poor quality products made in, guess where? China.
We complain about jobs being outsourced to other countries. We are frightened about rising unemployment and the worsening economy. Even in our county, there are thousands of children who do not have a home to go to after school. Ironically enough, the people who are fortunate to have jobs are always fighting for higher salaries and better benefits, until they lose them to somebody less demanding in so-called developing countries.
We take pride in spending billions of borrowed money to assist other countries, as much for political reasons, as for need. Meanwhile, we ignore millions of our own citizens who do not have shelter or food.
People blame politicians for all the problems. Funny thing, though. The same complaining people keep voting for the same politicians over and over again. Periodically, when they decide to vote for change and the change happens, they complain even more, saying they got the wrong kind of change.
We have two major parties and we go back and forth between the two, doing and undoing things and accomplishing nothing substantial in the end. We are loyal to our select party to the bitter end. Civility seems to be a lost art.
Either we support the rich or we support the poor. Supporting the middle class, who are looking for work, does not seem to be a classy thing to do.
By morning, we believe we are the greatest democracy on Earth. By evening, we buy and sell votes through campaign contributions and election promises.
Things seem to be going in the wrong direction. After all the fuss, our health care is still a mess. Industries are struggling and the illegals are smuggling. Institutions are failing and the innocent are bailing. The economy is dragging and the education is lagging. Secrets are leaking and the anxieties are peaking. Our allies are nagging and the rogue nations are bragging.
Problems abound all around. We are involved in two wars. The prospect of world peace proves elusive. As a worried nation, we fear for our safety, but we are too stubborn to question our entrenched foreign policies.
We sometimes try to kill the messenger. We reserve the right to doubt the patriotism of anybody who criticizes. We can call anybody who is critical a pessimist and anybody who questions, a communist.
America is still a great country and I enjoy freedom of speech. I am allowed to speak my mind and I believe America will be the greatest nation on Earth, once again.
Hopefully, during my lifetime.
Dr. Rao Musunuru is a practicing cardiologist in Bayonet Point.