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Thursday, May 19, 2022

‘Good’ Is Not Good Enough

We need to be the “greatest” and encourage exceptionalism

What does it mean to be “great”? God is great, of course, but what does it really mean when used in the context of people or things? It’s hard to pin down. The dictionary says the word “great” means “above the norm or distinguished.”

But how do we spot it? Or is it down to just “knowing it when we see it”? For example, who is the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan or Lebron James? Or the greatest boxer of all time, Joe Lewis or Muhammed Ali? Or the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady or Joe Montana? Boxers or briefs? Mac or PC?

You get where I am going here: Agreeing on what is “great” can divide us as much as it unites us. It creates passion and conviction, as much as it does critical thinking. Yet, we often struggle to define it in words or measure it in other ways.

But shouldn’t we all strive to be “above the norm or distinguished”? What if Steve Jobs had said, “Let’s just create a ‘good’ flip phone?” Or what if Sylvester Stallone had settled for just selling the screenplay for the movie “Rocky” instead of holding out so he could star in it? Or if Thomas Edison had stopped after failing a few thousand times at inventing the light bulb?

In Jim Collins’s book, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don’t,” he writes, “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that become great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”

Yet, there are people in this country who don’t want “great.” They don’t want you to be great, they don’t want this country to be great, and they are vilifying anyone in this country who believes otherwise. Look at Critical Race Theory’s attempt to dismantle meritocracy in this country.

President Biden is now referring to Trump voters as “ultra-MAGA,” whatever that means. Biden is claiming now that the “Make America Great Again” wing of the Republican Party is the “most extreme political organization … in recent American history” for just wanting America to be great.

And the media has been complicit in it all. They publish stories (without any evidence) that MAGA is “covert white supremacy” akin to “police murders” of minorities, “mass incarceration,” “police brutality” and “racial profiling.”

Actress/activist Alyssa Milano has tweeted that the “MAGA hat is the new white hood.” Nancy Pelosi said MAGA is about “making America white again.” The Washington Post published that the MAGA hat was the equivalent of wrapping yourself in the Confederate flag.

But let’s be clear: This isn’t about a hat. Or a campaign slogan. Attacking “MAGA,” or associating it with despicable acts of evil, is simply an attempt to erase “American exceptionalism” and replace it with “American good enough-ism,” complete with a government big enough to provide all you need.

Attacking those who want to make America great is an attempt by the Left to re-write the story of our nation’s ingenuity, perseverance and triumph. It’s the effort of those who want to minimize the virtue of hard work and the unbridled hope of the American dream.

And despite those who are so vocal otherwise, America is still an exceptional nation. Its best days are still ahead because our greatest and best potential comes from within us, from those rights granted to us by God – and not from what some government bureaucrat decides is best for us or thinks what should – or should not – be great again.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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