This country thrived and grew for years on a system of meritocracy. Excellence was not only what most people strived for but what most expected in every aspect of our lives. We went to restaurants that had five-star reviews. We bought the cars named best of the year. We bought appliances given the highest ratings by Consumer Reports. We wouldn’t even get a haircut from someone who didn’t have rave reviews. We sought people to fill positions, not by the color of their skin, the origin of their family, or their sexual preference. But by their proficiency and whether they would be a good fit for the team.
That philosophy served us well as we were usually satisfied with the services we used, and the items we purchased lasted longer than it took to pay for them. We let that thinking slip away slowly to be replaced with what we have today. Meritocracy has been replaced with diversity, and I am not sure anyone has been served well with that metamorphosis. When was the last time you could say you were satisfied with a purchase or service to the point of telling others?
We have sold our souls for cheap material goods. The once proud “Made in America” is rarely found amongst the plethora of products with labels claiming “Made in China.” We have evolved to a service-based economy; no economy can thrive by exchanging one service for another. We need to produce, and there are sad stories about the quality of what we do manufacture.
Look at our military machine. We used to brag about the quality and might of our military equipment. We are still sailing ships and flying planes from decades ago because of the technology and quality of their construction. Recently, our Navy introduced the littoral combat ship, and thirteen have been commissioned since 2014. Half of those ships have been retired due to hull and other significant system failures that rendered these units unsafe for combat use. These ships cost $360 Million each to build, and now the fleet costs $70 Million per year per ship to operate and maintain. We should have bought the extended warranty.
Politics is awash with people who do not represent the best we have to offer. We have settled for mediocrity and continue to return these folks for multiple terms. Once entrenched, these people are almost impossible to replace. Look at the 2022 election cycle and the state of Pennsylvania. They elected a man to the Senate who had suffered a nearly deadly stroke months before the election. He could not understand oral questions, but when given to him in text, his answers were incoherent. He is now in a hospital bed suffering from depression and deserves our prayers for recovery but not his return to the Capital. If not bad enough, the same voters elected a man who was deceased. Rep. Tony DeLuca died months before the election, but the voters still saw him as their best choice.
As part of America’s resurgence, we must cast aside equity and diversity and again insist on the best—the best of products and the best of people. Getting back to excellence and America first will elevate all Americans and make us ready to face and conquer our next challenge