And do not forget that nearly all of the countless 20th-century innovations and industries that made the rest of the developed world so efficient and comfortable came from America, and it wasn’t a coincidence. As long as Europe had America taking risks, investing ambitiously, and yes, being “inequal,” it had the luxury of benefiting from the results without making the same sacrifices. Who will be America’s America?
Notes from the Golden Orange
EppsNet Archive: America
Neil Young is playing a couple of solo acoustic shows next month at the Dolby Theatre. Tickets went on sale Monday morning, but somehow I missed the fact that they’d been available via “pre-sale” since last Friday and were all gone by Monday morning.
What a heartbreaker. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of technology and social networks, Mr. Young and his team were able to inform me via Facebook that a third show had been added and I was able to log in and get tickets for that one.
The sold-out shows are on a Saturday and Sunday. The new show is on a Tuesday. Am I looking forward to driving in to LA and back on a Tuesday? No, but on a list of solo acoustic shows for which I’d be most willing to knock over my own mother to get a ticket, Neil Young would be second, behind Bob Dylan.
Unlike some singer-songwriters, Young also has a distinctive style and talent as a musician, plus an almost-50-year portfolio of great songs — not clever lyrics or inventive melodies, but a Neil Young song is as real as the day is long. They get a hold of you, like a meathook.
A solo acoustic performance is like he comes over to your house and picks up a guitar. Can you imagine that? Neil Young is at my house and he just picked up a guitar. “Do you mind?” he asks.
One more thought on Bob Dylan: Solo acoustic Bob Dylan is part of the iconography of America in the 1960s. I don’t expect Bob Dylan to ever do a solo acoustic show again but if he did, the significance of it I think would be second only to Jimi Hendrix playing a concert after coming back from the dead.
In democratic societies, there exists an urge to do something even when the goal is not precise, a sort of permanent fever that turns to innovations (which) are always costly.
When I heard the current president say, “You didn’t build that,” I was first insulted, then I was angered, and then I was saddened that anyone in our country, much less the president of the United States, believes that roads create business success and not the other way around.
Anyone who is so fundamentally misunderstanding of American greatness is uniquely unqualified to lead this great nation.
In Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Tang family owns The Great American Doughnut Shop. Their family fled war-torn Cambodia to come to this country. My kids and I love doughnuts, so we go there frequently. The Tangs work long hours. Mrs. Tang told us they work through the night to make the doughnuts. The Tang family have become valedictorians and National Merit Scholars. The Tangs from Cambodia are an American success story, so Mr. President, don’t go telling the Tang family that they didn’t build that.
When you say they don’t build it, you insult each and every American who ever got up at the crack of dawn. You insult any American who ever put on overalls or a suit. You insult any American who ever studied late into the night to become a doctor or a lawyer. You insult the dishwasher, the cook, the waitress. You insult anyone who has ever dragged themselves out of bed to try — to strive for something better for themselves and their children.
To overcome the current crisis, we must appreciate and applaud American success. We must step forward, unabashedly and proclaim, you did build that. You earned that. You worked hard. You studied. You labored. You did build that.
And you deserve America’s undying gratitude, for you, the individual, are the engine of America’s greatness.
You see, the essence of America, what really unites us, is not nationality or ethnicity or religion. It is an idea. And what an idea it is. That you can come from humble circumstances and you can do great things, that it does not matter where you came from, it matters where you are going.
My fellow Americans, ours has never been a narrative of grievance and entitlement. We have never believed that I am doing poorly because you are doing well. We have never been jealous of one another and never envious of each others’ successes.
And on a personal note, a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced her that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.