This year’s G20 Summit (19 of the world’s largest national economies, plus the European Union) was held in London on Thursday to discuss the present economic crisis. Prior to the meeting the French President Nicolas Sarkozy had threatened to walk out if stricter regulations were not implemented. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel had also communicated similar sentiments if things didn’t go their way. Although no one walked out, there was some finger-pointing against America for triggering the crisis. Paris and Berlin were quick to dismiss US proposal of financial stimulus to create jobs (whether one agrees with it or not is another matter). Was anything real accomplished at this conference? As previous meetings have proven there is always more talk than action. But there is one observation that was hard to ignore – America no longer had the gavel. It seemed that other countries were parading as the power brokers of the world’s financial future.

What will it take for America to reclaim her place in the world? The American Cowboy. Americans have always had a strange affinity with the cowboy. He projects a peculiarly American style of courage and independence. The cowboy will take on rustlers, rattle snakes, flash floods and personal fatigue to bring the herd home. There is a sense of pride in him that is not haughty but comes from a belief that what he stands for is right. He walks away from unnecessary conflicts but is always willing to stand for the underdog. He forgives but doesn’t forget. He is the reluctant hero who does what is right even if no one follows. When the job is done, he rides off into the sunset. I grew up on Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey and realize that the cowboy image is part history and part myth. It is not limited by a genre of music, historical time period or an ethnic group. It defines who we are as Americans. At the opening of ‘The American Cowboy’ Exhibit at the Library of Congress, President Reagan remarked “. . . Among the horsehair lassoes and Remington sculptures and Gene Autry songs is a part of our national identity. Tales of Wild West men and women from Kit Carson to Wild Bill Hickok to Calamity Jane to Annie Oakley are woven into the dreams of our youths and the standards we aim to live by in our adult lives. Ideals of courageous and self-reliant heroes, both men and women, are the stuff of Western lore. . .  Life wasn’t that simple then, and it certainly isn’t today. But in the words of a noted historian, ‘Americans, in making their Western myths, were not put off by discrepancies with reality. Americans believed about the West not so much what was true, but what they thought ought to be true.’ He went on, ‘Lacking the common heritage that bound other nations together, they were forced to look elsewhere for the basis of their national existence. And they found it in the West.’”

David, the shepherd king of Israel, had the same spirit when he challenged grown men in the following words, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). Then he went on to take a 9.75 ft giant named Goliath with a slingshot and won. As long as we stay “One nation under God” we won’t have to take a number in the waiting rooms of the world’s bureaucrats.

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