This week I have had the good fortune to be on vacation in one the most economical historical locations I could find. That would be on the southern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula; Cancun. While most think of Cancun as a place to go to party and lose oneself in a week of self-indulgence, there is far more to this part of the world. Yes, the party atmosphere is alive on the Mexican Riviera but the historical aspects of the Yucatan Peninsula leaves no question that a very energetic and developed society had carved an advanced civilization from the thick jungles of Mexico. A new state-of-the art Archeological Museum has been erected in the middle of the Hotel Zone and hotels are now identifying themselves as family friendly instead of party pads for American youth.
I had planned to write about my last visit to the area two years ago and how I awoke to hear that the Cancun airport had spontaneously erupted in applause when it was identified that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Since then the story of the organization and planning that took place to execute this operation provided enormous pride in what America can do when focused on a specific mission. But then the destruction that took place in Boston flashed across CNN and another truly remarkable feat of coordination unfolded. I sat in amazement as I watched Federal, State and Local agencies immediately merge to form a unified force that shut down one of the most vibrant and active cities in our country. This level of planning would normally take weeks but in a matter of hours the city was in lock down and a manhunt ended in the capture of one terrorist and the death of a second. How proud we should feel that we can mobilize and execute such a force from around the country in such a quick period of time. This sense of security is one aspect of our nation that makes me proud to know that we are sleeping under a free moon provided by the sacrifices of so many. But then I saw some things in Mexico that gave me time to pause and reflect on some concerns that could be brewing with how confidence in America is being perceived. Could Mexico be a barometer?
Throughout my travels over a quarter century the United States dollar was welcome. Many countries had a black market where dollars were traded for an inflated fee and thus the dollar was highly sought after by the local merchants. This has changed in the Mexican Caribbean. The first night we went to the local pharmacy to discover that U.S. Dollars could not be used. They only accepted Mexican currencies. I thought that they just didn’t have change. Then the next day my friend Jeff Davidson and I went to the museum and we were told that only Mexican Pesos were accepted. We had to cross the street to the money changers. And then I noticed that there were money changes around town where none use to exist. This made me wonder if the dollar was losing the luster it had once been revered by foreign countries. One of the worst things that can happen to a country is to have confidence lost in its currency. Then when going through the new museum I noticed that the majority of the descriptions on the various artifacts were missing English translations. In the past this was the norm. So in a time of internal pride with what we have accomplished it is sobering to see that we are not being viewed by other countries in the same light. It is disturbing to see that the perception of America and the world leader could be waning.

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