The American Hating Patriot
As is often in political discourse, ideologies that aren’t featured on the mainstream media are seen to be anti-American, insane, ideologically dangerous, etc. This includes both left and right libertarianism, socialism, the green party, and many others. To the constant bantering of ‘America Basher!’ I would like to elucidate some as to the wonderful things about this country for there are quite a lot when honest history is used.
From the founding of this country in 1776, America has been blessed with a population that have fought for rights, succeeded in expanding opportunities, clearing away obstacles, and breaking down barriers in the hopes of furthering those famous words of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ Sure, many detractors glue themselves to the faults of America- and of course, to be intellectually honest- there are many. But one needs to realize that the freedoms we enjoy- those of speech, press, religion, fair trials, and gun ownership are pretty unique when looked at from the history of world governments.
As opposed to many other countries, in America, one can reach success with given effort, one can amass wealth and prosperity unlike any other country in the world. This ability for Americans to do this comes from honest Americans standing up for the rights our founders laid down in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Millions come to this country for the promise we proudly show on our Statue of Liberty; ‘give me your sick, your hungry, and your poor.’ For in this country, the mixing of cultures only inspires further growth of everything from the economy to societal norms and practices.
The fact that America’s Constitution is the longest lasting Constitution in the world says a lot and the fact that it is practically inarguable that our Declaration of Independence is still considered one of the most ‘radical political documents ever written’ stands true.
Throughout the modern era, our citizenry, government, and corporations have continually helped those less fortunate through charitable offerings, increased opportunities, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial spirit. One need only to go to a local grocery store for an example. The options for consumables stretch as far as the eye can see- offering foreign foods, discounted foods, fresh and organic foods- all of which are usually reasonably priced.
Regardless of one’s view on many of the social issues of the day- it is comforting to know that in this country there is an actual debate. From politicians to religious leaders to special interest groups- the debate always rages on. The debate may not always be civil but voices from Christopher Hitchens to Pat Robertson get a say in matters effecting any and everyone. From the Dust Bowl through the Great Depression the American spirit has gone through quite a lot and has continued to push on, defying the many obstacles that come with such great tragedies.
The American Ideal- that of freedom, though not always practiced or encouraged by various institutions will most likely stay around for some time. This is not due to any institution granting permission, but just from the individualism and at the same time collective understanding and appreciation for what our Founding Fathers envisioned with this country.
There is a wonderful paradoxical nature to this country that is always interesting to point out. In America, we preach staunch individualism, the ‘rugged individual’ and the like, which is practiced throughout this country. Though in the same country collective consciousness also comes about in times of trouble. From war protests to labor rights, people get together to voice an opinion in a country that not only allows it but requires it.
The collective spirit shows itself in times of natural disasters, along with other events. Following the earthquake in Japan to the tsunami in Indonesia, every sector of this country poured out. From Coca-Cola to the government to charities, to churches, to individuals setting up websites- money, food, rebuilding materials, and other aid came pouring in in an act of generosity, empathy, sympathy and global community. When looked at from simply monetary figures, the amount the US gives in charity is beyond impressive.
There are many reasons why one chooses to love America- the people, the history, the big stores and the little mom and pop shops- but it must be stated that America, like any other country, does great things and does terrible things- but deep down, when looked at from the Founding Fathers to the US troops today taking an oath to defend this wonderful country- it is hard to not feel at least a bit lucky.
Of course, in my attempt at being intellectually honest- I am not a jingoist and the Founders didn’t want a nation of zombies. Thomas Jefferson once stated that about every twenty years or so a new revolution should take place- to wake people up and inspire a new generation. I have and will continue to critique this country- not because I hate it- but because it is my freedom, my right, and exactly what the Founders envisioned for this country stating that ‘dissent is the bedrock of democracy.
I tend to be leery of anyone who emphatically states that ‘America sucks’ or of someone that says ‘America can do no wrong, it is perfect’- both sides are intellectually dishonest and in need of kool-aid rehab. Unlike dissidents in China or say Turkey- when my country does do something wrong I voice it and include no euphemisms such as ‘everyone makes mistakes’ whenever it is my country that does wrong. I wrote this blog in acceptance of a challenge issued by someone who thinks I hate my country- to which this blog is but one shot from a pint of Maker’s Mark of why this country is so great. Though it may seem to many that I continually find only fault in this country, it is because I expect such great things from it. When I was taught that this country was incredibly unique and filled with promise- I took that notion very seriously. So, with a country devised with such wonderful things, an immoral action can have devastating implications to someone with such high expectations.
So, to emphatically state once and for all- I do love America! I am many times not impressed with many politicians, religious leaders, companies, and the like- but who is absolutely satisfied? When my country does great things- I may not pat myself on the back or do a back-flip- it is merely because it is what I expect from this country. I perhaps over-excite myself when the negative occurs because it flies in the face of all that this great nation was built upon. As any marketer will tell his business client- a customer, a patron, a reviewer- will always remember the bad experience before the good.
As with myself, I encourage through such talks on existentialism and philosophy in general- I never want to be content….I never want to be ‘satisfied.’ I want to keep going and each accomplishment is only met with new challenges and new obstacles. This applies to my views of America- we are great, and guess what? We can do a lot better as well. And with the aforementioned quote on dissent in mind- the best way to make this country get even better is two-fold: 1) Know the greatness, appreciate the good things, know the history of the great struggles, know the people that helped this country get to where it is; 2) Know the bad, know the things that might tarnish this country’s reputation, the smudges on the flag if you will. The founders knew this and every patriot better damn well know it. Orwell was famous for writing a whole book about the rewriting of history in a dystopia and it is up to patriots to keep this from happening in a country that encourages both points.