Why I Love America

I have lots of time to think during my 50+-mile (each way) commute each weekday. The other day I got to thinking about what's going on in this country. Lots to complain about, with the troubled economy, the (in my opinion) out-of-control politicians going crazy coming up with new ways to spend ridiculous amounts of taxpayer money while intruding into ever more areas of our lives, etc.

Anyway . . . some country song came on the radio, talking about all the great things about America, and it reminded me that, even with all that's going on, this still is a great country, for so many reasons. So here's my list — in no particular order — of some of the things I love about this country.

  1. Our land is beautiful. No matter what kind of scenery floats your boat, you'll find it somewhere in this country: evergreen-covered mountains? crashing ocean waves? red-rock desert? endless prairies? We've got it all. 
  2. We are diverse. No matter what you believe, there's somewhere for you to live and feel like you fit in. If you're a Christian, the south is a great place to be, because you still can talk openly about your faith (even on the TV news) without being ridiculed. If you're a secular humanist, you'll feel right at home in certain parts of New York or the Pacific Northwest. City boy or country girl, there is a place for you in this vast country.
  3. We give. Americans have the most generous hearts in the world. If someone has a genuine need — a child becomes critically ill, or a natural disaster strikes, or neglected animals are found, or a tyrant is wreaking havoc on the people of his country — Americans will fall all over themselves to help.
  4. We're strong. There's not much this country can't endure, working together. And like many families, no matter how much we bicker, when the need is great, we come together for the common good. We can disagree (vehemently) on everything from politics to religion to pizza toppings, but when push comes to shove (e.g., when someone flies an airplane into one of our buildings) or a tornado devastates one of our cities, we unite to do what needs to be done.
  5. We achieve. Though times are tough, this still is the land of opportunity. No matter how humble a person's beginnings, she still has the chance to work her way into a better life. There are support systems available for those who have the will and the heart to try.
  6. We're free. The fact that our airwaves and social networking sites are rife with disparate viewpoints and sometimes angry debate is a symptom of the freedom of speech and thought that we still enjoy. Don't like the government? You're free to criticize it to your heart's content. No one will throw you in jail, and most people — even those who disagree — will fight to defend your right to state your opinion. Lead a march, launch a website, write a letter to the editor or your congressman, speak out at the city council meeting. The marketplace of ideas is alive and thriving in the United States, and the national government is constitutionally prohibited from punishing us for our “dissident” ideas.

Do I think that Americans are intrinsically better than citizens of other nations? Of course not. Am I blind to the difficulties facing us in these modern times? Not at all. We have serious issues to address as a nation. But still, I'd rather be a citizen of the United States than of any other country in the world, and sometimes it's good to take a step back and reflect on all the good things we have here, that make this union worth preserving.

Freedom of speech is alive and well on this blog. Your comments (respectful and non-profane) are invited and encouraged.