Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's great being an American!

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
I have traveled around the world.  I have lived in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), visited India, Kashmir, Nepal, the Phillippines, Japan and traveled throughout Southeast Asia, Europe, and the Carribbean.  One question that I have received is, “Having seen the world, where would you most like to live?”  The answer is Pavlovian (it requires no thought whatsoever): in the United States (US).
For most readers of this essay (and my blog), such a response is probably not surprising, and such a response, too, is likely to be the same.  Of course, we all have our reasons, and the reasons may differ, but in the end most people prefer the US to anywhere else in the world.
Evan Thomas, writing in a Newsweek essay in the “Nation” section, “A resilient society: When horror strikes, it’s tempting to think that everything will be different.  Why it won’t — And why that’s a blessing” (January 24, 2011), gives as his first defense of the US, the following:
    “For all its excesses, America is an extraordinarily stable country.  The overlooked consolation of terrible, seemingly earth-shattering events like the slaughter in Tucson is that the country is not forever changed by lunatics with guns or even zealots flying airplanes into buildings.  The shock wears off, life goes on, altered somewhat, perhaps, but not fundamentally” (p. 23).
When I lived for 14 months in East Pakistan, it was clear that the country could never be fully democratic like the US.  When you experience the ignorance and poverty, you realize the problem.  Democracy requires an educated populous.  It cannot be sustained without it.  And when you have lived in the US for any length of time, you take it (an educated populous) for granted.  As venomous and prolonged as campaigns become, and as much as people may dislike election outcomes, still, there is no better system of government on the planet, and whether citizens vote or not, it is their freedom to vote that is of paramount importance.
At the web site,, Dan Flynn, in his essay, “Ten reasons why thinking Americans love their country” (October 28, 2002) lists freedom as his first reason:
    “America has shined as a beacon of freedom in an unfree world for more than two centuries. To this day, for instance, most people living outside our borders reside in countries where the private practice of broadcast journalism is illegal and where the state is the dominant banker. Americans can say anything they want, worship any god they choose, and associate with any motley crew around. ”
Another reason for liking the US is medical care.  We all know there are differences in accessibility, differences in facilities, and even differences in the quality of medical care one can get.  If you have ever been in a foreign country that is poor and seen the medical facilities available to citizens, you will love what we have available to us.  An essay writer at the web site, Deborah Seeber, writes the following in her essay, “Medical Care in the U.S.”:
“Medical care in the United States is generally very high quality. The government closely monitors medically oriented businesses and institutions. Hospitals, clinics, medical schools, and pharmaceutical companies must comply with government standards.
“Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel must be licensed, and becoming a medical specialist frequently entails fifteen years or more of rigorous schooling and training. The high level of technology available in the U.S. contributes to quality care, and the average hospital contains millions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art equipment.”
It is precisely such standards and requirements that provide a foundation of excellence in the US — especially when you compare our system with most others in the world.
At FreeRepublic, the essay, “Twelve reasons to love our country” (December 6, 2010), by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb, offers twelve excellent reasons.  Those I find most attractive (excluding those I’ve already discussed, above) are the establishment of equal rights for all citizens, existence of a place where dreams can come true, a place with one of the world’s highest standards of living.  Also, it is the world’s leader in scholarship and invention, the world’s greatest marketplace for the free exchange of ideas and information, and it’s home to the most generous people on earth.
I, as I said at the beginning of this essay, have done a great deal of traveling, but I have never experienced the broad range of parks that we have, in any other country.  We travel by 5th wheel, and we have camped in numerous state and national parks — across the south, out west, and across the north, too.  The facilities, good drinking water, and opportunities for campers are outstanding, to say the least.
Even Thomas, who I cited at the beginning of this essay, ends his Newsweek essay by saying:
    “The United States has highly functioning governments that provide services and security and a court system that metes out justice.  Maybe we shouldn’t just take it for granted that the government check is in the mail, that your sons and daughters cannot be drafted, that the police cannot barge in without a search warrant, that you can sue your neighbors, and that all those talking heads — and you on the Internet — can say almost anything you want, thanks to the First Amendment.  Maybe we should be grateful.
It was Evan Thomas who sparked this essay, and I am indebted to him for electrifying my senses.  Too often, I’m afraid, we take all that we have available to us for granted.  If you, as a reader of this essay, has never traveled abroad and, thus, have no comparison regarding what we have available to us, you may not completely understand my passion.  On the other hand, you may not want to travel outside the US at all simply because you like what we have here! — you already have passion! We have a great country, and it’s great to be an American!
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At, Mike Adams has written a terrific essay, “Why America is still a great place to live: thirteen things I love about this country” (September 7, 2005), and Adams gives readers the following reasons: 1) the heart of the American people, 2) freedom of speech, 3) cultural diversity, 4) emergency rooms and health care, 5) the health food industry, 6) food labeling requirements, 7) creative expression and Hollywood, 8) the free market, 9) signage, 10) inventiveness, 11) national parks, 12) grass roots activism, and 13) better treatment of animals.  He ends is essay discussing “Things that Need Improvement.”

At, Dinesh D’Souza, the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, writes:  “10 Great Reasons to. . . C e l e b r a t e   A m e r i c a !” (July 4, 2002).  The reason this is a great essay is that D’Souza is a foreigner writing about our country, and his theme is simple and needs to be heard: "America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence.  American life as it is lived today [is] the best life that our world has to offer."
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Copyright July, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.

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