Why America is Great
What has happened to it? Where has it gone?
I'm sitting here right now while, literally, there is one of the biggest Fourth of July parades on the west coast going by my window, and I am amazed at how repulsed I am. Where has my patriotism gone? I can remember that I once truly believed in America, and I that believed in the values it stood for. Well, I still believe in the values, but I'm not sure I believe in America anymore.
It's easy to feel this way when all you see is negativity in the Media about the United States.
Nothing seems to be good for America when our country is broadcast or spoken about outside our borders.
We even have US. citizens, like Al Gore, who will take foriegn government's money, travel to a foriegn country and on thier soil, trash America.
You sir, have spit in the face of America.
Even though many try and degrade America, make America seem evil or bad, I know they are wrong. For you see, I love America. I see it everyday, I see the wonders in everything I do and it's really too bad people do not stop and feel it too. It's easy to take for granted, to get too caught up in your everyday life, the hustle and bustle, the bad news of the day from the media, to actually sit back and think for a moment that you have it so much better than anywhere in the world. Think about that for a moment. You have it so much better in America, you have more freedoms than anywhere in the world.
As much as people think we are the worst country, that so many are so much better than America, most seem to do it while LIVING in America.
Strange isn't it?
That people who would demonize America, who say they hate America and all it stands for, would do so while partaking of America's Bounty. They are Hypocrites of the highest order.
I love the concept of the Statue of Liberty, she symbolizes America, THE America that immigrants from all over the world strive to come and behold her shores, to come and partake of the American Dream.
The American Dream is the faith held by many in the United States that through hard work, courage, and determination one can achieve a better life for oneself, usually through financial prosperity.
If America is so loathed and hated, then why is it so many flock to her shores?
America is so big-hearted and prosperous it can welcome people from all over the world fleeing oppression or poverty.
Yes we have rules and laws, and we expect that if you wish to come here that you please observe and follow them. This includes Immigration. We welcome you to Amercia, but enter legally, for to do otherwise disrespects the Laws of America and in doing so shows a lack of respect for America.
You will find no greater place than America when it comes to Freedom of Speech. No where else in the world has a greater freedom to speak than you will in America.
You will find no greater place than America when it comes to Religous Freedom. We have a diverse country of cultures and religons that practice thier faith without persecution.
You will find no greater place than America when it comes to the Rule of Law - the right of accused persons to confront their accusers, the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, the right to refuse admission to government officials wanting to enter your home or office.
America is the most prosperous nation in the world and for that people of all nationalities and faiths flock to her shores. They come for Freedom, they come to partake of America's richness, her Glory and Pride.
America is the beacon of Liberty, providing light and hope and inspiration to the entire world.
When there is trouble, where do nations around the world turn?
When there is epidemics, tidal waves, mass destruction, floods.....where do they turn to for aid?
What country is the biggest contributor of aid around the world?
Here is what some think makes America great:
It's a scene of everyday Americans doing the right thing: truck drivers, firefighters, bartenders, teachers, and of course cops and firefighters. Most days, there's an abundance of heroism bundled up in the American people and it only took the appearance of a natural disaster to unleash it. Personally, I'm just happy to be in a country where even if the government is incompetent, the people can collectively rig up solutions to almost anything.
Next is, of course, Fredom of speech. This is something we often take for granted. In many countries around the world, if someone wrote what I'm writing, they would be arrested and thrown in jail. The very fact that I am able to speak these words and publish these essays demonstrates the level of freedom we still enjoy in the United States of America.
If you think about it, there are countries like China where you wouldn't dare speak your mind, because you'd be incarcerated or assassinated. There are countries like Iran, where bloggers are put in jail because the Iranian government does not like their blogs. Certainly in the United States there's a lot of censorship and editorial control in the mainstream press, but a blogger can get online and say just about anything they want (as long as it's not something like instructions on how to make a bomb).
We can freely criticize the government, the president, private groups and even professions. At the same time we can sing the praises of those things we believe are really phenomenal and positive in this country. That's what freedom of speech is all about. It doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything I say, or that I have to agree with everything you say. It means that we respect each other's right to voice our opinions, even if we disagree. Especially if we disagree, actually. We let the conversation take place, so that individuals can be exposed to many different views, and then decide on their own what they wish to believe. It's a remarkable freedom, and it's crucial that we preserve that freedom. It's one of the best things about living in the United States today.
The cultural diversity
The people in this country are remarkably creative; they are independent thinkers, and they bring together the wisdom of many different cultures and background. I don't know of any other place in the world where you can get the same cultural mix that you have here in the United States. I think it's wonderful to have the cultural influences of Hispanics, African Americans, Eastern Europeans, Asians, South Americans and many others.
Racial diversity is one of the things I really enjoy about this country. I would be bored silly to live in a country that had a homogeneous culture with no international influences. I want some diversity; I like to meet people from different cultures. I'm one of the few vocal supporters of (legal) immigration, because I believe it is precisely such diversities that made this nation great in the first place.
The free market
The next thing to love about America is the free market: The competitiveness of our market results in the creation of highly efficient businesses that deliver necessary products and services to us in ways that simply cannot be achieved under a centralized government system such as communism. I know there are problems with the free market system; in fact I'm one of the biggest critics of certain elements of the free market system. It creates corporate abuses and corporate ethic atrocities, for one thing. This is a system that has created Enron and WorldCom and Big Pharma, after all. But it's also the same system that has created an environment in which natural health supplement manufacturers can flourish. A system in which computer companies like Dell can reinvent the way we get custom-built computers very quickly at remarkably low costs. It serves our consumption interests very well, overall. It spurs creativity and competitiveness, and it promotes innovation.
That's a pretty good economic system. In fact, it's the best created so far. I would hate to be living under a system of communism or centralized control where, in effect, most of the people in the country were just sitting around doing nothing, or pushing paper from one person to another. If you visit any government-run institution in countries like China or Mexico, you'll find that it's a common practice. Everything's still done by paper, and there's no such thing as good service - there's not even an expectation of good service. You're basically at the mercy of government bureaucrats for everything you need. Even if you want to enter or exit the country, you have to get a dozen stamps from some bureaucrat who seems to actually enjoy making you sweat.
But here in the United States we have an essentially free market system, and it's a system that encourages customer service and quality control. These are fantastic benefits of living in this society, and some even creep into the public sector, where now you can visit DMV offices around the country, and many of them are actually doing a decent job these days (it's not perfect, I know, but it's an improvement). They have streamlined operations by mimicking the operations of private industry to create better efficiencies and a more satisfying customer experience. That's quite remarkable. Again, it's something we might take for granted in this country, but it's not something you find everywhere else in the world, and it is indeed something to be thankful for.
Read the rest of it Here.
The next thing to love about America is grassroots activism. In America, people feel the need and have the motivation to stand up and speak out about a great many things. People hold public rallies and marches and grassroots events. They will rally together for an important cause, such as saving the environment or saving the whales or overturning unjust laws. Americans tend to be activist-oriented, and to me that's a healthy sign of the level of freedom in a country. It's frustrating when these activists are suppressed (like happened at the WTO meetings), but by and large activists are able to get their say in this country.
It's important that we all recognize the value of activism, whether or not we agree with the particular agendas of particular activist groups. As long as activists refrain from using violent tactics, they're healthy for this country. Obviously I do not condone any sort of violent activism, or anything that destroys property or threatens the safety of other human beings, but I'm all for loudmouthed activism, even if I don't agree with what they're ranting about. After all, I'm one of the most loudmouthed activists of all, and I feel quite tolerant of the other activists in this country, even if we don't share the same points of view. As Noam Chomsky said, "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
This country not only tolerates activism; it actually seems to welcome it. People like to get involved, raise their voices and be heard. This keeps the government a little more honest. It helps keep public policies sane and provides a check on the legislative and judicial systems in this country. Now with the help of the internet and online activism, it provides an even more powerful way to connect people who share a common passion. For that reason, online activism is becoming a very powerful force for social and political change in this country.
I'm a tremendous fan of online activism. I think that the more people get together, share ideas, and work toward a common goal in a grassroots campaign, the better off we're going to be in this country. That's why I'm also a huge proponent of citizen journalism, online blogging and freedom of speech in all its forms.
As you can see America is a great country, it supports many things, it is diverse in its thoughts, culture and people.
I think the constant barrage of negativity that the media heaps upon the US (while broadcasting and living here) tarnishes what this nation really is.
It is a great nation.
Remember America the beautiful, it says much about America, and how we feel or should feel about it:
Read all of it Here.
America the Beautiful
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
What I believe says the most about America, and captures the Patriotism that has been felt for our great nation is the Star Spangled Banner:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Bles't with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Remember this when you burn that Star Spangled Banner, you spit in America's face.
The American Flag is something a true American RESPECTS.
The flag is the symbol of our national unity, our national endeavor, our national aspiration.
The flag tells of the struggle for independence, of union preserved, of liberty and union one and inseparable, of the sacrifices of brave men and women to whom the ideals and honor of this nation have been dearer than life.
It means America first; it means an undivided allegiance.
It means America united, strong and efficient, equal to her tasks.
It means that you cannot be saved by the valor and devotion of your ancestors, that to each generation comes its patriotic duty; and that upon your willingness to sacrifice and endure as those before you have sacrificed and endured rests the national hope.
It speaks of equal rights, of the inspiration of free institutions exemplified and vindicated, of liberty under law intelligently conceived and impartially administrated. There is not a thread in it but scorns self-indulgence, weakness, and rapacity.
It is eloquent of our community interests, outweighing all divergencies of opinion, and of our common destiny.
Though criticized, we firmly believe in the Pledge of Allegiance because it embodies what we feel of America:
This is our pledge to our wonderful great country.
You hear it throughout America. But, do you really know what it means?
Let's look at it very closely so that you can learn and understand its meaning.
"I pledge allegiance"
(I promise to be true)
"to the flag"
(to the symbol of our country)
"of the United States of America"
(each state that has joined to make our country)
"and to the Republic"
(a republic is a country where the people choose others to make laws for them
-- the government is for the people)
"for which it stands,"
(the flag means the country)
(a single country)
(the people believe in a supreme being)
(the country cannot be split into parts)
"with liberty and justice"
(with freedom and fairness)
(for each person in the country...you and me...!)
The Pledge of Allegiance says you are promising to be true
to the United States of America! Never take these freedoms that you have for granted.
Remember all branches of the armed forces, and the countless thousands of men, women and children, yes children, who through the centuries have given their lives, so that we may enjoy, all the freedoms that we have today.
Last but not least, for those that live in America, when it comes to hating America, when everything that comes out of your mouth is nothing but vitriol for America, I have but one thing to ask you.....
Why are YOU still living in America?