Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Poll Takers Achieve Their Goal

The promoters of the "Greatest American" poll have certainly achieved, what I believe, must have been their goal. Here at the old folks home we have for weeks been talking about America, its purposes, its aims, its worth.

The poll started with a call for names of any American who has made a contribution to society. At the dinner table we had lots. We had to evaluate whether to include contributors to industry as well as contributors to the well-being of the greatest number of people. Should it be a politician, an athlete, a musician, an entertainer? Should Lance Armstrong, athlete who overcame personal hardships, be named or should it be Neil Armstrong, who was first person to walk on the moon. Was the space race as thrilling as the Tour de France? Did the "greatest" mean the more thrilling or the more beneficial?

Then the list of the top one hundred was named and we were asked to rank them. And that produced more introspection, more discussion of values. What should a great American be? Moral? Creative? Popular? Rich?

When the list of twenty five finalists was named we really became introspective. Said Wilma (Republican): What is Clinton doing on that list? And said I (Democrat): Who put Reagan among the top twenty five? And said Anita: Where's Susan B. Anthony?

Each of us had our single favorite, and we weren’t about to budge. But we were given three votes, and it brought about some surprising results when the second and third choices were added in. For example, Bob Hope had more votes than George Washington. The Wright brothers had more votes than Abraham Lincoln.

Last week the final five choices were announced. That really turned on the discussion. To my amazement, Clinton was gone but Reagan stayed on. At our dinner table we discussed the debate we had seen on TV. Should Washington be eliminated because he once owned slaves? He freed them, true, but only after his death. He freed them in his will. Who gave the most of himself to be an American? It was a lively time. It made us think.

Next week the two finalists will be announced. It will spur more discussions about America and what it means to us.

We may come to blows.

15 comments:

chasferris said...

No, of course we won’t. We're American. We discuss our differences, we don’t fight over them.

plieck30 said...

Now this must have made your blood run through those veins. A very interesting pass time.  Only in America......do we use the word "politics" to describe the process so well: "Poli" in latin meaning many and "tics" meaning bloodsucking creatures. Paula

kateh2ocolorart said...

And start the NEW Revolution?  LOL

lovelycp86 said...

This is Val..I am using my daughter's screenname.  This is fascinating.  I would LOVE to see your top 25.  I would imagine it would be very different in your home in comparison, say, to a list compiled by kids my daughter's age (she is 19).  I am on the edge of my chair waiting for #1 to be announced!...xox Val xox

mavarin said...

I thought the top five show was full of what's wrong with the media and politics these days--lots of arguing and yelling and extreme positions.  I much prefered the earlier shows, when they explained WHY Tesla and Eleanor Roosevelt were important.  I;m shocked that Reagan made the top five, but a friend suggested that was the recent events bias in action.  "He's been dead less than a year," she said.  "Twenty years from now, he wouldn't make the top five."  Me, I'm equally annoying that Jefferson didn't make the top five. - Karen

anarchitek said...

I agree with you on the incredible choices made that would leave Reagan on the list, but drop Jefferson.  Were history to have never experienced EITHER of those gentlemen, most "Americans" today would be paying taxes to England and a number of second-rate movies might have been improved by better actors getting the roles.  I think most of these things are merely to sell advertising space, anyway.  Great read!  Bruce  

shelt28 said...

Congrats on being an Editor's Pick

Carolyn
http://journals.aol.com/shelt28/MyLife

fisherkristina said...

Congrats for making Editor's Picks, Chuckie Boy! -Krissy
http://journals.aol.com/fisherkristina/SometimesIThink

plieck30 said...

Woops gotta comment again. I see you made it to the big time. Editor's Pick. You deserve it. "Congratulations" Paula

hunybea4him said...

Congratulations  on making editor's pic.  I love your About Me description, you sound like a charter for sure.  

I haven't really kept up on the Greatest  American debate or show updates.  I did throw in my own suggestions that included Susan B. Anthony.

You're going on my alerts : )

Much Love,
Mary
http://journals.aol.com/hunybea4him/HunybeasOpenJournal/

kissofvanity said...

Congrats on being an Editor's Pick.  I like your style of writing.  :)

Ana~

astaryth said...

Hey, look who made Editor's Pick! Hmmm... at least I can say I was reading him -before- he became famous! <g>

judypearllove said...

HEY HEY HEY YOU MADE EDITOR'S PICK AND I ALSO FOUND YOU BEFORE YOU WERE FAMOUS. I WAS VERY HAPPY TO SEE YOU THERE CONGRATULATIONS. ON THE SUBJECT OF THE GREATEST AMERICAN. I DON'T KNOW WHO I WOULD PICK BUT SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE ARE MOTHER TERESA, JOHN KENNEDY, YES CLINTON AND ELVIS BUT DO YOU REALLY THINK THERE IS JUST ONE PERSON THAT COULD BE CALLED THE GREATEST ABOVE EVERYONE ELSE. I DON'T!! I THINK EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO DO IN LIFE AND TO LEAVE BEHIND. COME VISIT ME FOR MY NIGHT OF DANCING
http://journals.aol.com/judypearllove/ToBlessedToBeStressed/
PS DON'T COME TO BLOWS REMEMBER EVERYONE HAS AN IDEA OF THEIR OWN LOL BUT I WILL BE WAITING FOR THE OUT COME

sherm197 said...

I just deleted my spam mail and descovered you were there too late, then I tried e-mailing you to let you know I didn't get your responce at Chasfarris? but it wouldn't go..mmm Sorry...I wanted to hear what you said mail it to me again. Why does it go to spam first? Sherm197@aol.com These fancy gagets!

ber144 said...

I ignored this show until tonight, and then I see that Reagan wins.  I'm speechless.  This has to be the dumbest thing ever created.