Although I was certainly pulling for the U.S. team to win yesterday and make the next round of the World Cup, I also realized that their loss could be very productive. Ever since President Bush took office, arrogance has been swirling all over the country. We basically went it alone in Iraq, and we really haven't shown any desire to collaborate with or even welcome other of our allied nations and their opinions, unless of course, we have something substantial to gain from it (like at the present moment, Bush is trying to get support for the Iraq War as he finally realizes that at the present moment, the outlook doesn't look good).
We think we're the best, that we're more important than other nations because we're the most influential, and thus that entitles us to do whatever the hell we want. We think we're invinsible, we can't be beat (a la Bush's famous "Bring It On" slogan). Well, yesterday Ghana certainly brought it, and our team didn't respond. True, this is soccer, a sport that's not popular, but we still should have been able to get a win against a tiny African nation. Stories like Ghana's are why I enjoy watching the World Cup because I love seeing little, impoverished African countries with not much else to look forward to rally behind their team and knock off the world's most powerful nations.
Recent U.S. performances in basketball and baseball international competition have been pathetic as well. We got beat by Puerto Rico in the Olympics, an island so small I couldn't fit both feet on it. And like it or not, we're basically getting beat by the Iraqi insurgency right now (especially after we're were told that we could expect a quick and relatively easy victory).
I love my country. I do think it's the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and most of us agree. But when proud patriotism turns into arrogant and ignorant extremist nationalism, problems arise. President Bill Clinton has said," There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed with what's right with America." I couldn't agree more. We need to teach our fellow citizens in this country that patriotism is a beautiful thing, but we can't let it overshadow the fact that as a member of the global community, we must adhere to the standards of everyone else. God doesn't just bless America, he blesses every single nation on earth, no matter how much we might disagree with how that other nation acts. So in closing, I'm glad we got beat by Ghana. Maybe now our arrogance in this country will mellow.