Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chin Up

Is it fair to say that people aren't feeling so great about the way things are going these days?  In the six weeks I've been in the U.S., there's been the debt ceiling crisis, the downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, some deadly days in the Middle East, and the beginnings of yet another loooonng campaign season.  So, fresh from Asia, I thought I'd add my perspective.

This is a great time to be an American.  

We have:

Freedom of speech (usually)
Freedom to assemble
Freedom of the press
Freedom of religion

Protection from illegal seizure of our property
Protection from cruel and unusual punishment
Protection from outside threats (by the most powerful military in the world)

The right to a trial by our peers
The right to vote
The right to organize

The ability to hold our leaders accountable
The ability to lobby or run for office

A brilliant Constitution
A free market of both goods and ideas
A system that has allowed for peaceful transfer of power every four years
A spirit of volunteerism and helping our fellow man

Some of the best colleges and universities around
Safety nets for those who can't support themselves
Abundant and beautiful natural resources from coast to coast
Top-quality medical care
A place of refuge and opportunity for immigrants
Passports that can take us almost anywhere


(Most of these items are not (yet?) true of the country I've been living in.)

So, I say it's a great time to be an American.  And if our economy gets worse, it will still be a great time to be an American.  And if we bicker our way through another ridiculous campaign season, it will still be a great time to be an American (in spite of the bickering, though; not because of it).

What we have in this country is special.  Life here is really, really good for quite a lot of people.  True, many things are broken, but still -- have we lost our faith in our ability to better our country and ourselves?  Haven't we already recovered from circumstances as dire as a Civil War, a Great Depression, and a Cold War?  Where is our optimism?

My purpose here isn't to minimize the economic, moral, educational, and global problems facing our country, nor is it to blindly trumpet, "We're the best!" (I do believe God when He says pride comes before a fall.)  However, even an objective, nuanced view of the current state of America demands not just self-critique, humility, and repentance, but also hope, joy, and gratitude.  And in that spirit, I say it's a great time to be an American and I'm very thankful that I am.


  1. I just really love you. Also, I think you're brilliant.

  2. This is awesomely well written and provides great perspective! Love it. Safe travels back to China today!