First World Problems – iPhone edition

As I write this, I am sitting at the Apple Genius Bar reloading my information onto a new iPhone.  My old phone’s GPS stopped working with any reliability.

The biggest problem is reloading 256Gb worth of stuff onto the phone.  With my music library, apps, etc it ends up taking 2 days to get everything back on it.  Then there is the necessary re-pair of the Apple Watch which also takes a half hour.

I recognize that this is not one of the world’s great problems by any stretch.  Its just annoying.

Why America IS great and how to keep it that way

It frustrated me during the campaign that there was a thought that we needed to “make America great again”.  When did America stop being great?  Is it not great now?

Thinking about how things were in the past only gets us so far.  The world is a different place so comparing two timeframes makes the context of the differences difficult, if not impossible, to deal with.  My question is what does “great” look like?

Half of my great-grandparents were immigrants early in the 20th century.  They came to this country because it provided them with more opportunities and a safer existence than they would have had in Eastern Europe in the 10s/20s.  They worked hard and created a life for themselves.  My great-grandmother in particular came here to visit family and ended up staying because 1914 wasn’t really a safe time to go back to Europe.  I would argue that this isn’t fundamentally from refugees coming from war zones, that are in part our fault.  In today’s environment, would she have been sent back to a war zone because her visa expired?  How many other people in this country wouldn’t exist if that had been our policy then?  How much potential greatness would be lost by sending people back home because we don’t like the color of their skin or their religion?

America has always been a beacon for those wanting a better life or more freedoms.  This was true of the original settlers.  This was true of the founders of our nation.  This was true of the people that came because of the expansion to the west. This was true of the people that came through Ellis Island.  And it is true of people coming today.  We are the place where the greatest number of people go [link] and [link].  There is a reason for this… We Are Great.  There is more opportunity here than any other country.

People are coming here to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families.  This doesn’t take away from us, but adds to us.  We all do better when we have people working hard and generating wealth.

I would argue that America is great, and has historically been great, because we have a diversity of people and opinions.  Until fairly recently we all worked together and were willing to compromise to make sure that the work of government actually happened.  We welcomed people with open arms (mostly) and our greatness was fueled by different ideas brought together by melding different cultures and ways of thinking.  We have an attitude that we can do anything and the idea that you can lift yourself up by your bootstraps and do something amazing.

While we have challenges today, those don’t make America anything less than great. People wouldn’t still be flocking here if we weren’t still viewed as Great.  If life here sucked, people wouldn’t want to come here.  How many people do you see immigrating into 3rd world countries?

The policies being advocated aren’t going to help the middle class, which is necessary for a strong economy.  Stopping the influx of immigrants or deporting existing ones is going to have a detrimental effect on our labor force and our economy.  Who is going to pick produce?  Who is going to provide cheap labor to builders?  That is not to say that is the only job an illegal immigrants have, but it is a significant portion of the labor done by people the incoming administration wants to deport.

Our fear of “the other” has made us make our immigration policies more restrictive to try to keep people out of the country.  This makes us a poorer country.  We need to change our policies to make it easier to come into the country legally than it is to come in illegally.  Closing our borders is unrealistic, regardless of the rhetoric to the contrary.

We don’t need to work to make America great again, we need to work to KEEP America great today.