A famous quote of the artist Warhol tells us that in the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes. Warhol was well known for having a highly insightful understanding of the American mind and using it in his art. And this quote hit a cord with many people for a lot of reasons.
At first look, this might seem to be a bit pitiful that everybody would even want to be famous, even if for just a short time. But in truth, as you reflect on the idea, it highlights a part of what it is to be an American that is truly great. Because buried in the personality of all Americans is that dream of greatness. And to many, greatness is recognized through fame, even if for only fifteen minutes.
When an individual dreams of being something great, those dreams of greatness reflect more than just ego. They reflect a deeply rooted desire to make a difference in the lives of others, to improve mankind for the better and for the world to be a better place because we are here. This is such a deep part of the American spirit that you see it in how the country behaves corporately in its relationship to the world.
For better or for worse, our innate desire to make the world a better place is reflected in how we want everybody on the planet to enjoy life the way we enjoy it. We know the rewards of our free society and how that has created a country where virtually anything is possible to the individual who can dream big and work hard. This is a society where you can make it if you try. It is a country of tremendous wealth. But we do not rest on our wealth thinking that we deserve it like some kind of European royalty. No, Americans never forget their roots and their past. We are always trying to find ways to “give a little bit back” out of gratitude that we were allowed to be citizens of the greatest country of all time.
Our desire to make the world a better place surfaces in literally thousands of small teams that flood out of churches and charitable organizations across the world to reach out to the poor and those less fortunate than us to try to help them live better lives. We know that the blessing of the finest medical talent on the planet is something that was given to us to be shared. And our doctors and nurses and medical professionals give away countless days, weeks and months to the poor of every nation to help fight off disease and give them the blessing of health that make life as an American so enjoyable.
It is our deeply held conviction that we can all reach the greatness that has created the most prosperous economy in the world. We don’t enslave our workers or abuse our children to make our economy work. Instead, the workers of this country enjoy the finest benefits of any economy on the globe and every one of them knows that if they work hard and learn, they can become more prosperous and successful as well. And every year millions do just that taking advantage of the freedoms that makes this country great.
No, those dreams of greatness that are a part of every American’s world view not only is what makes Americans great, it is what has made this country great in the past and will continue to assure its greatness in the future. Because even though Americans know their country is by far the greatest in the history of the world, Americans never rest on their accomplishments but are always pushing onward, to greater success and to find new frontiers to conquer.