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Why America Succeeds Everything

This article tells you that why the united states of america wins every aspect.

Every 9 or 10 years I am pulled to reread Atlas Shrugged. I don’t know why and I disagree with some of Ayn Rand’s personal beliefs, but sometimes I feel the need to remind myself of the message of industry and excellence. This time around I am listening to the book on my iPod.

The section I heard yesterday is one of my favorite parts of the book. Dagny is riding in the cab of a locomotive, at 100 miles per hour on the rails of the newly completed John Galt Line. This is her triumph, having cleared all of the many hurdles that were placed in her way. All of the policy makers, the talking heads, the politicians, and fellow business people were working for her failure.

She reflects on her experience and her victory and she looks out the window. Along the route, the track is lined with American people. Puzzled she looks more closely. At first she sees past, present and future employees of the railroad. They make a silent guard, armed in case of threat but standing in honor of their leader and sharing in her success. Dagny smiles.

Then the train travels through the small towns of Colorado. Dagny notices the crowds. Whole towns grouped around depots are cheering the train on. At one point flowers are thrown at the speeding engine.

I always get choked up at this point. I love the whole “rugged individual” national identity of the American people. We cheer for the underdog because we know that there is always the possibility that they can win. But, for the underdog to prevail, we require extraordinary effort. David versus Goliath could be our national story, in part because it is possible here.

The small business owner in the United States plays this scene out every day. Every morning, in saying good bye to my husband, my last words to him are, “Go slay the dragons!” We fight the battles daily. We struggle to do the best job that we can do and overcome all of the obstacles that are in our paths.

This election season has been a roller coaster. I am hopeful one day and desperate the next. In my more negative moments, it can seem that the end is near and America will never recover. Then I get some perspective. Even in Ayn Rand’s apocalypse, we are shown the spirit of our founders. There are always those of us who see a brighter potential, who reach for the stars and believe that all things are possible. I believe that in America, these are more than a remnant. I believe that the character of our people is deeply ingrained. Sometimes we lose our way.
Sometimes we buy into the victimhood, but even in those times when we feel downtrodden (or see others as oppressed), we also see our redemption. That is what drives small business in America. We can take charge of our own destiny and accomplish.

We live in a country where the pauper can really become the king. That Bill Gates can start out in a garage and end up in a castle offers again a map for the rest of us. Opera’s journey, or Barrack Obama’s or Sarah Palin’s are only this generation of the Horacio Alger stories that make up our national character. Every generation has their own, but every generation has them.

No matter what happens in the election, we are Americans. We cheer for our champions and encourage those trying to be. I wake up every morning proud of my country. But that is because I am proud of her people. When I was doing employment counseling, years ago, I spoke to a young girl from England. She had a PhD in archeology but was applying for a computer job for much less money than she could have received in her field. I was puzzled and asked why. Her response was incredulity. “This is America. You can do or be anything you want here.” That is our reality and that there are obstacles is the price we have to pay to achieve. If it were easy everyone would be there and the victory would mean less.

Part of the reason for my return to Atlas Shrugged is that I have always loved that success is so possible and it doesn’t matter that it is hard to achieve. It is supposed to be difficult. But it is possible.

That Gates and Opera and Dagny have the tools and the opportunity to succeed is enough. It is all we ask for. No, it is all we demand.

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