I probably spend too much time griping about my country's flaws instead of praising its virtues. While it is true that I am rarely pleased by the government, there is so much more about the US which I love. So, without further ado, and in no particular order:
I really enjoy the political freedoms which we have in the US. In particular I appreciate the freedom from established religion. It has fostered a rich Christian heritage in this country, which I believe has been squelched by the state churches of Europe. Being of the Anabaptist persuasion, I have no patience for the concept of a "state church," so I am glad to be free of it.
Another freedom which is pertinent to this post is the freedom of speech and the press. It would be very silly of me to spend so much time publishing critical articles on my blog without expressing thankfulness for my right to do so without legal consequence. Freedom of speech is also a boon for preaching the Gospel. We are fortunate to not have to worry about smuggling Bibles or meeting under ground (and therefore we ought to help those Christians who do have such oppression).
Almost any person will think that their homeland is the most beautiful land on earth. But I think the US can make an especially good claim in this area. We have an exceptional quantity and variety of wilderness to enjoy. Dry deserts to mountain peaks to tropical islands, we've got it, and in abundance. We of course benefit richly from the resources of our bountiful land.
Unfortunately in some cases we have taken the bounty for granted, and not been the best stewards of our natural resources. However, these days it seems that our nation is doing a pretty good job protecting the beauty and health of our surroundings (or when a good job is lacking, at least a good motivation is there). Hopefully we'll find ways to get better at it as time goes by.
I really love American music, movies, literature, sports, and food. There is a broad caveat here. Large portions of American culture are pretty bad (including broad swathes of country music). But so much of it is awesome.
The vast majority of the culture I enjoy comes from the US, or is at least heavily influenced by us. The US has been at the forefront of culture in so many categories for quite a while now, with the result that our cultural touchstones are often universally recognizable.
There is really too much to say here, but I'll tick off a few important cultural loves of mine:
- American literature (especially science fiction)
- Good films
- Rock 'n' roll
- Baseball (and other sports)
The US is behind so many excellent technological inventions (the internet, anyone?). I chalk this up to our resources, our freedom to tinker, and our educational system. Public education and the options for college and trade school are part of what make our nation great. Having an educated populace helps everyone.
There is so much more I could say, but I'll sum it up here with the 4th of July. It has been my favorite holiday for quite some time. "What better way is there to celebrate America than by blowing up a small piece of it?" The US has a lot going on, and I'm glad I live here. I shouldn't ever take it for granted.