Friday, July 2, 2010

Land of the Free

A few weeks ago, I watched the United States play against England in an early World Cup game. What surprised me, more than that crazy goal made by the U.S. team, was some color-commentary made in the beginning of the game to the effect that the U.S. is England's former colony. Yeah, buddy - that was over 230 years ago. Get over it.

We certainly have changed a bit in those 230+ years, haven't we?

In case you forgot your basic American history, the History Channel recently ran a series called "America: The Story of Us" to remind us. I find several faults with this project, most notably that it portrayed all things about our country in a good light - with the exception of a few minutes devoted to slavery and the civil rights struggle. Don't get me wrong. I love America, and feel very blessed to live in a free country, a melting pot of so many wonderful, different cultures, and landscapes that ring true to spacious skies and purple mountain majesties. But by no means is America perfect. I doubt there is any one living soul in the country that feels we are perfect, even though I'm sure that many outside of America think we are just a bunch of arrogant S.O.B.s. Still, there is a lot to love.

As I type this from the comfort of my own home, on a gorgeous summer day, in shorts, I think about the places around the world where people live in shanty towns of cardboard, smothered in dust and waste, without clean water or food, or a government willing to improve their horrible conditions. I think about the women who are not allowed to show an inch of skin for fear of punishment for indecency, and I think about the children who cannot enjoy such a beautiful day because they are working in sweatshops or worse when they should be playing instead. I think about taking a walk downtown later - and then thoughts cross to people who cannot walk anywhere without feeling terror of being kidnapped, raped, shot or blown up.

America is a fortunate country. Not perfect, but fortunate. We have freedoms that many do not have. We have access to a life that, even in the worst circumstances, tend to be better than what many can even hope for.

So, even though it's been a long time since we've been a colony, we must continue to celebrate our freedoms - and the people who work so hard to keep it so. Happy 4th, America!


AndrewGCarson said...

I know what you mean about the football commentary you would think us Brits still had an Empire the way these pundits go on it's embarrassing. You make a very valid point that we definitely do live very privileged lives although most wouldn’t consider themselves privileged but compared to a lot of the less fortunate citizens around the globe our problems pale in comparison like to a Mother who has to walk ten miles for water everyday that’s not quite clean but is all she has to give to her starving children something like that really puts going the grocery shopping when you know the store will be mobbed into perspective. I’ll leave on a cheerier note though when the USA scored against England I can’t tell you how much as a Scotsman that made me smile in fact I bet there was a louder cheer in Scotland than in the whole of the US when that Goalkeeper fumbled the ball into his own net, for this as a Scotsman I’d like to thank all Americans for giving us Scots something to laugh about for a few days, God bless America as the former President would say.

Christine said...

Thanks,AndrewGCarson! [and glad we could help out with the goal! :0 ]