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New York Daily Photo: Gold Mining
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Friday, 4 July 2008

Gold Mining

Today of course is July 4th, Independence Day in the USA. I have never been a flag waving American, in fact, my generation was particularly unpatriotic. I grew up in a time of protest - the Vietnam War, draft card burning and marches to Washington. But as I have aged and learned, I have a greater appreciation for what this country has to offer.
I am not blind to the problems here - over emphasis on money and capitalism, extreme ethnocentrism, racism, lack of national medical coverage, exportation of American values and culture, dumbing down of society, decline in educational achievement, decline of the dollar and rise of the Euro.
But in the course of my business and personal life, I have met thousands of individuals from across the world and conversation frequently turns to culture and countries. I get positive impressions of this country from them.
There is a clamor to get into this country - an average of one half of a million immigration applications are filed each month. Of course, the quality of life is certainly excellent in many other places (some would argue better) and most non-USA citizens are happy to live in their native land.
I think the biggest thing I have learned is that freedom and opportunity are not hollow words. For the ambitious, skilled and hard working, there is opportunity in America. But here, like anywhere else there is competition, and many outsiders are deluded into thinking that all Americans are wealthy and that the streets are paved with gold. TV, film and the desire for instant gratification all contribute to these false ideas about the American Dream. There is plenty of gold here, but it has to be mined ...


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