I have traveled all over this world. I have lived and worked in China, Germany, Qatar, and Afghanistan. I have visited England, France, Spain, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. I enjoyed them all – even Iraq and Afghanistan. Each country had something special to admire or enjoy. Invariably, I found that the people themselves were never what I expected – and always better than I could have hoped for.
But the bottom line is that, after all of that traveling and sight seeing, America is still the best place to live. Its far from perfect – but its the best nonetheless. Herewith, on this day before the 4th of July in 2013, my top 5 reasons to love America.
#5 – New York City
OK – I admit it. I am from NYC. I grew up in Queens and I will always root for the Yankees. That disclaimer aside, NY ranks as my #5 reason to love America because no other country in the world can create a city like New York. It’s got it all – food, fashion, finance, night life, everything. You know why I really love NY? Anyone on the face of this planet can move to New York, and within a year say “I’m a New Yorker” and no one in New York, literally NO ONE, will bat an eye or disagree. You think that can happen in Paris, London, Moscow or Beijing? I’m just saying!
#4 – The Blues
I’m no musician, and I am not a musician historian, but if any other country in the world could have created The Blues, they would have done it before us and taken credit. ‘Nuff said.
#3 – Hollywood
I don’t adhere to the politics of most in Hollywood – but you can’t argue with the success of the American film industry. Yes – there is some real crap out there, but when it comes to spreading American culture – no one does it better than Hollywood.
#2 – American politics
What?! We’re dysfunctional! We’re gridlocked! How can you say American politics is a reason to love America? Well first of all, this is “Why Run With The Herd”, so I need to be a little contrarian, but more importantly, here is why I love American politics, and you should too:
– American politics is not just Washington – it’s 50 state capitals and countless municipalities. Taken as a whole – we’re doing pretty good.
– It’s not as bad as you think – During his day, his opponents called Abraham Lincoln ‘that ape in the White House’. For a great read on what was said of Lincoln, see here. Let’s not forget – we actually had a Civil War where somewhere between 618,000 and 750,000 Americans died. You read that right. Politics that allows THAT to happen is dysfunctional. We are not dysfunctional. You might not be happy with Washington – but American politics is far from dysfunctional.
– It’s better than everywhere else – it might not be perfect, but have you seen the Israeli Knesset? Ever watch “Prime Minister’s Time”? Take a look at the Korean parliament. If you want agreement and happy, get-along politicians – move to China or Russia – there’s plenty of them there.
and finally, the #1 reason I love America…
#1 – The American People
The American people are, without a doubt, the most generous people in the world. Earthquake in Pakistan? The American military will have boots on the ground in 48 hours helping out. Would any other people create and fund a thing called the “Peace Corps”? Haven’t seen it yet. When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon his words weren’t “…and one giant leap for America.”, they were “…and one giant leap for mankind.”.
According to the National Philanthropic Trust, with respect to charitable giving for 2012, the “…average annual household contribution is $2,213 while the mean is $870.”. That does not count the 64.3 million adults who volunteered 15.2 billion hours of service either!
The American people are far from perfect – but they are the best reason to love America.
Happy 4th of July.