Here is another of possibly thousands of Blogs recognizing and celebrating America’s Independence Day.
It is Independence Day, at least it is in the United States of America. We believe that America is something different, something special. But Why? What sets America apart from our global neighbors?
Most citizens of most countries have National Pride. You see it at the Olympics at the opening ceremonies. They parade in carrying their National Flag donning their countries colors. They are honestly proud to represent their Nations. The fans at home root for their teams to win. Every Nation has their unique celebrations of their beginnings as we do. They share common history, traits and languages (except Canada… but you gotta love the Canadians!).
How is our National Pride any different, than our loyalty to a high school or college that we attended. You see the college running back in the end zone holding up the number one sign after the score. They can’t all be number one. That’s the point of number one, there is only one of them. Then how are we so disillusioned as Americans to think we are number one, something special?
Isn’t good, good enough? Americans would be quick to answer, “Not for America. We’re winners!” They somehow believe this national pride is unique to the United States. I’m not sure they have seen it, but there is this little game called soccer. Yes, soccer, Football is something played by Bears, Broncos and Falcons. If they haven’t seen it, the national pride exhibited by world wide soccer fans is so intense it sometime leads to violence. Americans might say “they are getting carried away”. Countries around the globe might say Americans have gotten so comfortable they don’t know what real National Pride is. I am an American and agree they go a little over board but I do concede that National Pride is not something exclusive to the United States.
Then maybe it is our freedom to voice our opposition to the government, or ourability to express descent that sets us apart. It is true that in some countries public opposition to authority is not a condoned activity and may lead to serious consequences. Those countries are the minority. How many people remember the photo of the young Chinese man opposing the Chinese Military tank in Tienanmen Square? How about riots in Europe over labor laws, or in South America regarding individual rights? All of these were shut down by the governments. So is the difference, that we allow them to continue? Can you say Ferguson, Missouri? America is no different than any of those countries. When the descent becomes destructive or violent, the government shuts them down. So maybe it is the level of push back and violence applied by the government to re-gain control? Tell that to a civil rights activist from Selma Alabama that was beat with batons or bitten by a police dog. I guess it is not necessarily free speech or freedom to assemble and the application of force to enforce the policies that sets America apart.
Then it must be our financial system that makes us unique in this world. Our free market economy. Ask our friends across the pond who have fought and won Brexit, moving the U.K.s economy away from the European Union to complete independence. Maybe it is capitalism that sets us apart. No Communism or Socialism but pure Capitalism. First I would ask what is pure capitalism? If we had pure capitalism GM, Chrysler and every bank with more than two employees would not have received all of the “government loans” they received to save their business’. I’m not commenting on my opinion of these, just that they are not pure capitalism. The Strategic Petroleum reserve is a government program to help stabilize oil prices. The current farm bill has millions for farmers to not grow crops to stabilize prices. The Federal Reserve manipulates the availability of money through interest rates to keep the overall economy stable. None of these fit in a true capitalist system. Want to see true, unbridled capitalism at work? Go to Dubai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and several other Pacific Rim countries. Their entire country is focused on the pursuit of exports to drive the economy. So it’s not our financial system.
It must be tolerance and freedom of the individual that sets America apart. If we are so tolerant why do Americans focus on assimilation of immigrants into the American culture? Europe is much more tolerant of individual cultures sticking together and maintaining their individuality without assimilation. I am endorsing neither approach as each has its own costs, but Americans can’t look at tolerance as something that sets them apart. We have seen over the past few years that we still have a great distance to travel before realizing Dr. King’s dream. It is still a fact that not all Americans are treated the same by everyone. America does encourage freedom of religion but that is not unique to our country. In countries that are wholly established based on a religion, we still see tolerance. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the home of the Jewish Religion. Yet both Christians and Muslims find some of their most holy locations in the city of Jerusalem and make pilgrimages there to celebrate them. Freedom of religion, while not globally accepted is woven into the fiber of several nations.
Maybe the key to America’s individuality is our moderation. So many of the things that were established as defining values of America are only experienced at the edges, the extremes in other countries. These values are either ignored or erupt into violence. Maybe. But there are so many countries like Canada, Australia and Sweden that you can’t say that about either.
Maybe its nothing more than piece of paper that separates America from the rest of the world. A single sheet of paper, hand written by a group of men with a vision of something greater. The paper is yellowed and aged. It was penned 230 years ago in 1789. It establishes an ideal to strive for. It spells out, in common language an ideal to live by.
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Stats of America.
One aged, yellowed and worn piece of paper over 200 years old sets America apart from the world. Things may not always work right, but when they don’t I am willing to bet they don’t stand up to the ideals in this document. We make mistakes and put individual priorities above the Constitution sometimes but we always know that WE, THE PEOPLE share this common ideal as our center. As a rule to measure our actions by. As a guiding light for our futures.
America is special. In Neil Diamond’s words it’s the reason: they’re all coming to America. I am a 57 year old American. Too young to have shared the sacrifice and national pride of a generation that fought and won a war for the principals set forth in the Constitution. I’m much too old to be considered a young idealist, yet when I hear the National Anthem I always tear up, I thank those who serve and have served, risking the ultimate sacrifice for this very piece of paper. I’m proud to fly the Red White and Blue at my house.
Happy independence Day.