Tuesday, July 2, 2013

God Bless America. No, Really. I Mean It.

I originally posted this in my other blog, "The World According To Me" back in June of 2010.  Given the events of the past week, and the climate that still exists today, I figure it'd be a good repost for the upcoming holiday.

Understandably around this time of year I’m always overcome by this amazing feeling of pride for my country. I’m not talking Right-Wing Nutjob, teabagger, FOX News kind of patriotism, but the kind of patriotism that transcends party, ideology, religion, race, and all of the other things that would otherwise divide us. So every year I try to think of all of the reasons that I love this country, despite its flaws. While paring them down to a list that won’t take until next year to read was rather difficult, I think what I came up with is pretty comprehensive. Of course this is my list. You can agree, or disagree, or find reasons of your own. Here goes.

1. I live in the birthplace of our nation, Philadelphia PA. – This one is so obvious I just have to put it at the top of the list. So what if all of our sports teams are perennial playoff losers (not counting 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series). We have the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center (which I encourage all TEABAGGERS to visit if you dare show your teabags here), and where else are you gonna find a REAL Philly Cheesesteak (which, contrary to what the locals may tell you, tastes much better with REAL cheese instead of Cheese Whiz).
2. Rock-n-Roll, Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B, Country, Gospel, and Elvis. All Made in the USA – If it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, it probably started here, along with the dances that it created. No offense to folks who love their Classical Music, but just try and get your groove on to some Mozart or Beethoven.
3. You can have your opinions. I can have mine. And we both have the right to speak them aloud. – No matter how I feel about someone’s opinion, whether it’s from Olbermann or Beck, I’ll always defend their right to say it. Plus, if we really don’t like an opinion, we can always BOYCOTT them without infringing on their right to be a jackass.
4. Changing our political landscape is as simple as going to the ballot box. – Unlike other countries, and contrary to what Sharron Angle and the other TEABAGGERS seem to believe, we don’t need guns and violence to affect political change. If we don’t like something our government does, we can simply vote to change it. That’s a right that ALL of our ancestors fought and died for, and a duty we owe to them.
5. Everyone can achieve whatever goal they aspire to, EVERYONE. – No matter what your dream is, if you put your heart and your mind to it, you can do or be whatever you want. And no government entity can stop you – at least as long as it’s legal.
6. Diversity is RESPECTED, not shunned. – We have a Latina Supreme Court Justice, an African American Attorney General, openly Gay lawmakers (and GOP closet-queens), and a Bi-Racial President of the United States. This is a country that is comprised of and lead by many cultures, and beliefs. And we’re stronger because of them, not despite them.
7. I can worship ANY God I wish, or none at all. – That was the whole point of the pilgrim’s trip here, that they would not be forced by the state into a particular religion. That’s also what separates us from Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and other countries where religion is the rule of law.
8. We have a President. Not a King. Not an Emperor. Not a Supreme Ruler. – Our system of checks and balances are what keep Presidential power in check, and ultimately places power with us, the people.
9. I don’t need to fly a flag, or wear a pin, to prove how much I love this country. – And frankly, I question those who feel they do. My love of country is shown by doing what I can to make sure we stay the greatest nation in the world, not by pseudo-patriotic rantings based on hatred and violence to others.
10. We have a military force that is second to none, who fight to protect all that we stand for. – Of course I couldn’t make up a list of what I love about this country that doesn’t give a shout-out to the brave men and women who protect this great land of ours. Their sacrifices are what keep us free, and they will always have my utmost respect.
11. And the thing that ties this all together, THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. – No other country has anything like it. It is the one document that is the basis for everything we have. All of our laws, our policies, how we conduct our military, all come from this one document written over 200 years ago. And best of all, it isn’t finished. We can amend it as we need to because that’s what the founding fathers wanted. They wanted it to be a perpetually changing document that grew as our country grew. And yes, it is worth defending, the entire document, not just the parts that we like.
 
Like I said, this is my list. These are thing that are important to me, things that I think make this country great. No, it's not perfect (sorry TEABAGGERS, but it's not), and we have a lot of shit with us that needs to be dealt with. But in this climate of political upheaval, it’s pretty easy to forget what we have, and how lucky we are regardless of what party is in power, or who is president. It would do us all well, Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative, to try and remember why we love this country, and keep it in mind not just at this time of year, but all year long.