In honor of July 4th, it’s time to express some American pride. The blogosphere, and I’m no exception, has mostly negative things to say about these United States of America. There’s just so much fodder in our broken campaign finance system, our game-playing politics, the utter lack of understanding that living in a democracy means not always getting everything what you want. But, all that said, this is a pretty great country. Why? Check out this list!
1. A military coup in America is inconceivable (sorry Tea Party!)
Egypt is a large, important country with a known history longer than almost any other nation. It has replaced its leader twice via revolution, then half-revolution/half-military coup in the last three years. You know why that doesn’t happen in America? Because the U.S. can do things like replace George W. Bush with Barack Obama completely peacefully. Richard Nixon had an ugly end, but it didn’t involve bloodshed. Egypt is the latest example, but we’re never far from the latest example of a bloody revolt in the world. America has figured out how to have peaceful revolutions.
2. I can walk out of my house and get Mexican, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Peruvian, Ethiopian or American food.
America is a land of choices and a country where people are willing to try new things. If you haven't tried any of the above cuisines, do. They're all great. And odds are, you won't have to travel far for any of them.
3. You can worship whoever or whatever you want
Yes, Muslims are persecuted, Jews are snarled at, Pagans get weird looks, but it is culturally unacceptable to do this in anything resembling a national forum. It is also frowned on in a large percentage of the homes, coffee shops and bars across this country. There is still much work to do in getting respect for many religious groups, and atheists as well (it’s very hard to imagine an openly atheist President). Still, this is one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the history of the world. Not bad, America.
4. San Francisco and Dallas can coexist here
Our Presidential cabinets aren’t always the team of rivals envisioned by Lincoln, but our entire country is. Granted, our political system sets up two teams for liberals and conservatives to duke it out, but in the end, we’re all in this together, because both hippy freaks and conservative whackos are welcome here. Even if both sides wish the other would go away, the fact that we have to accept each other is another reason that America is great. And you know, both San Francisco and Dallas rock pretty hard on July 4th.
5. Baseball, Jazz and the National Parks system
What do all of those have in common? It’s not a bad trivia question actually. Baseball, jazz and the National Parks system are all subjects of epic Ken Burns documentaries, and all three are among the greatest American innovations. I’ve enjoyed all three in the last few weeks, and all three show the creation and appreciation of beauty that have defined the character of America.
6. The Evolution of the sitcom Dad
Every top 5 needs a wildcard, right? There is something deeply American about the sitcom Dad. From the lovable but borderline abusive Honeymooners (okay, that was a sitcom husband, but same idea) through the irascible Al Bundy to the many-headed split that includes the ironic caricature of the whole genre in Family Guy and the self-deprecatingly progressive Modern Family. These mainstream figure heads provide a history of the cultural and aesthetic shifts in American culture.
We’ll get back to gnashing at each other over immigration, abortion and American Idol in just a few moments. For now, take a second to appreciate that America is a wonderful place.