I was watching the a Travel Channel show on Las Vegas the other night and I suddenly realized why I love that city so much:
Las Vegas is symbolic of what makes America great and why the rest just doesn't understand us.
I'm not talking about the sinful aspects of Vegas, after all, you can gamble in Monte Carlo or pick up prostitutes in Bangkok. Nothing unique there.
No, what makes Vegas special is that it was built, at least the modern part of the strip, with a particular brand of America presumptiveness.
Over the 1,000 plus year history of Paris and the Venetian Republic, the residents of those regions experienced some good times - the liberation of Paris by American troops - as well as some not so good times - the reign of terror or the rule of Jacques Chirac. Yet through it all, they managed to create two on the great centers of civilization, beautiful, cultured cities whose energy visitors still feel long after their respective empires have fallen away.
And then along comes America, a land unknown to Europeans when Venice was at the height of her power. We don't have great historical meccas like France and Paris, and even our oldest towns like Boston are being built over by modern construction. So what do we do? We take 2 years and a billion dollars and make our own Venice
and our Paris
Chutzpah? You bet. But this is also what makes America great. Unlike the much of the world whose progress is impeded by self-imposed cultural restraints, Americans are limited only by the physical parameters of what we can and cannot do.
Look at the debate at the UN over the liberation of Iraq for proof of this different worldview. The French repeatedly said America "cannot" invade without UN approval. America's response: "Oh yeah? Watch us."