Saturday, June 03, 2006
The Good of America
Pessimists need not apply...
Editor's Note: This is a re-post of a rant I did about a month ago. I bring it back just to gain a measure of levity into the blog. The themes have been as heavy as a yoke lately, a lot of soul-searching between myself and the gracious visitors to my site. I know many ills still afflict mother America,.. but just for today lets celebrate the preponderance of good that we are blessed with.
One of the reasons you don't hear too much good positive news on the cable shows, the network news and (my least favorite) self-important blogs, is because negativity sells. Sensationalism catches the eye. With sex, drugs, political scandals, blow-hards on the left and right, and flying human limbs coming at you in HDTV quality then who needs good news? Who wants to hear about the good of a Mother Theresa, the men and woman of our military building schools in Iraq, pro-bono lawyers doing good work for the less fortunate and good congressmen writing salient legislation when you can have 4 pandemics-a-gettin', 3 tornadoes-a-destroyin', 2 suicide bombers-a-flyin' and an Illegal in a pear tree (uh... picking pears of course). Well, not being one to shy away from ruining the day of the "the world is coming to an end" crowds here and abroad, I humbly submit to you my top ten reasons why America Rocks!
(DANGER: continuing this read may give you fuzzy feelings, happy joy-joy smiles and a severe case of optimism. We are not responsible for changes in your perspective or voting habits.)
1. More people want to break INTO America than are trying to jump out.
Even when somebody PROMISES to leave the country should this person or that person get elected,... they still stay!.. amazing.
2. Two massive hurricanes in 2005, 2 wars abroad, and still the economy booms.
What a country! I know this is going to get a few comments on the social injustice, the minimum wage, the outsourcing of jobs, the poverty, the sick, the this and that. Reality check. Its called CAPITALISM. It will never be a Gene Roddenberry Utopia. A small percentage of the populace will still fall through the crack no matter how little the crack is (that should be a rap song...) . There will always be unemployment no matter how little a percentage, there will always be ills to cure, mouths to feed and issues of concern. But compare our way of life, our economic might against anybody in the planet. Its not even close.
3. Freedom of speech and discourse!
Self-explanatory by the medium you are reading at the moment. Americans enjoy the greatest amount of venues in which to vent their frustrations than anybody else (give or take a few Nordic countries I guess..) The number of countries who enjoy this liberty is not as large as it should be.
4. 230 years old!, a baby in world perspective, and look where we are.
Think about those 1000-year old cultures and countries that look at us in disbelief and envy. There is a reason we are the "great democratic experiment". In two centuries we broke the back of Communism and the Soviet Bloc, put a man on the moon, discovered cures for diseases, gave the world the internet (give Gore the credit, see if I care...) spread democracy to places far and wide (I can hear it now...), swindled the indians out of their own land (ooops, sorry!), bought the Louisiana territory for a pittance, explored the west in horse-back, and in saving Europe's ass (twice) from self-implossion, the only " imperialism" land grab of note was keeping just enough hill-sides to bury tens of thousands of our beloved dead. Love it or hate it, we enjoy a position of leadership never before enjoyed by a nation of such youth.
5. Can you say Blues, Jazz, Baseball, Basketball, the Automobile, Computers, etc?
This list can be 1000 miles long. The contribution of the American know-how to the planet's well being can't be measured. The gains in medicine, technology, transportation, food distribution, ... there is a reason that most of what China does is a take-off of US technological prowess. The inventions of note gathered outside the US can be counted in few hands.
6. The BEST health care in the world. Period.
Whether its fair, cheap, available to all is a subject unto itself and a topic for another heavy day. Don't believe me? Try getting a appointment to see a Doctor in Canada. Its easier to get your dog cared for than yourself. Where would you like to have YOUR spleen removed... here?... or in Istanbul?
7. TV. Over 600 channels of everything from the sublime to the mundane.
In 15 minutes of your time you can surf from Disney cartoons to porn. (sorry, free speech folks!) We may not like everything on the menu, but the menu is robust.
8. Our giving, our non-profits, our help organizations.
Name one country with more world volunteers, more funding for diseases and special causes, more non-profits for habitats AND habitation, more foreign aid (and believe me, it hurts me to mention the foreign aid bit)
9. America the Beautiful
(... the fruited plane is not a Limbaugh invention folks...) Valleys, lakes, ocean coasts, marshes, forests, canyons, deserts, rivers, mountain ranges, 4 seasons, fauna, wildlife, national parks, and (my daughter's favorite) shopping malls.
10. The fact that a simple man like me, of humble origins, non-humble views, many faults and un-perfect in life can have a forum to say this, right here and right now is a living testament that in spite of all the daily grumbling of our state of affairs, we have it better than anybody else, period. We have "miles to go before we sleep" and can't diminish our faults and mistakes... but lets just take today to celebrate the good of America. There is always tomorrow to complain.
(p.s. I've changed my mind (Blame the citizens of Binghamton, NY) ...the complaints department is now open people,... but only after you've spent 5 minutes smiling :)