Amid all the preparations for the 4th of July, or perhaps during a quiet moment over the holiday, it’d be great if people stopped and thought about how truly lucky we are to be living here, in the USA. It’s amazing that the conception of our founding fathers has stood the test of time, lumbering along in a world they never could have imagined.
I shudder to think how they’d react if they could see us today.
It’s true that some 237 years later we can still have (heated) conversations about important issues (gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage) with both sides having their say without bloodshed. Sure there might be some name calling involved, but hurt feelings (pride) are a whole lot easier to mend that broken, battered bodies. People have been beaten and killed for their beliefs all through history, and in some parts of the world, likely still are.
And yes, we continue to elect officials all along the chain of government, presuming we make the time to vote. Voter apathy, the belief that your one vote doesn’t matter, is eating away at our willingness to exercise this right. It’s hard not to be frustrated by a process ruled by money and polluted by special interest, but somehow a few truly valuable public servants manage to get elected. Rudy Giuliani comes to mind as one of these. Of course if you don’t exercise your (hard-won) right to vote than sit down and shut up, let the rest of us handle this.
It’s also true that we continue worship as we choose — but unless you’re a student of history, and have learned about some of the truly horrendous (on both sides) persecution that went on based on faith alone, you probably don’t value that freedom all that much. Shame, because it’s a big one, and our founding fathers thought it rather important. The worst someone might do is leave offensive graffiti or topple some headstones — nothing compared to the crimes one faith is capable of committing against another.
It’s probably not surprising that we take our rights and freedoms for granted. It’s all most of us have ever known. But the rest of the world seems to think these rights and freedoms are pretty special, considering so many people seem to want to come here. Why?
Probably because, despite complaints about taxes and worries about coverups, despite a hopelessly biased press and an overlarge government, this country is still one of the best places on this earth to live. The American Dream still draws, opportunity, freedom, rights that are protected still matter even all these years later. Despite what we say, how we complain or fuss, Winston Churchill had it right: