Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A Patriotic Old Queen
I’m back in the good ole USA again after 5 weeks in Mexico and I’m happy to be home. Not that Mexico is a bad place; quite the opposite really. I’ve thought about moving there several times. I could sure live better on the limited money I have in Guadalajara than I can in New York City. But the simple fact is that the United States, all things considered, is a great place to live.
I don’t mean that in a flag waving, stand-up-and-salute-the-fighter-jets-flying-overhead, patriotic rhetorical way. I mean simply that we have a better, easier life here than most people in other places around the world. Sure we have too much consumerism, waste and energy consumption per capita but damit we can buy almost anything you can think of, almost anywhere you live, often 24 hours a day, and the stuff is pretty good quality.
More importantly, we have a relatively representative democracy. (Yes, I can hear the howls of derision from the entire spectrum of political views.) Maybe corporations exert excessive influence over politicians but it’s small potatoes compared to the rampant corruption in many countries. Perhaps our infrastructure is deteriorating but it is doing so from a far more advanced state than anything south of us. There is poverty in the United States, too much of it, but it pales in comparison to the state of affairs in third world countries – to the way the vast majority of the planet’s population is living.
So I’m feeling pretty good about being an American right now. Tomorrow I will start tearing my country down again. I’ll bitch about the government, taxes, the dirt in the subway, the rudeness of my fellow citizens, and on and on. But railing against everything wrong with this country is one of the rights, if not duties, that we Americans have.
Wearing a flag lapel pin or slapping a cheap bumper sticker on your car does not make you a good citizen. Being a good citizen means never hesitating to criticize what’s wrong and, hopefully, trying to make it better. It means continuing to fight for full participation and equal rights for everyone. It means having the courage to fight for protecting our constitutional rights and the confidence to believe that when America leads the world by example rather than by military might, we are at our finest. That’s what makes this country so great.
That’s why I’m so happy to be home.