I had my New Year’s column already completed, and it detailed all what’s wrong with this country and how so terribly south we have gone in one year.
But I tossed it aside.
Rather, I readjusted my thinking to focus on the positive.
First and foremost, regardless of political views, we’re all blessed with the fact that we live in the greatest country on the planet. For the time being anyway, we enjoy so many freedoms other nations have stripped away from their citizens.
We can still speak our mind, though there are some hurdles we need to jump over these days. But for the most part, we can express our opinions and viewpoints and not suddenly disappear. This freedom of speech is a large part of who we are and is perhaps the single greatest thing we have going for us.
We also get to practice any religion we like. Regardless of what you believe, we’re allowed to believe it, enjoy it, and no one can deprive us of it. This is a wonderful blessing since many countries will go so far as to kill its citizens because they didn’t follow the rules. It’s very comforting for millions of folks to know they’re safe from scrutiny and harm and allowed to worship freely in what they believe.
For now, we also have the right to protect ourselves.
The past couple years, violence has reached a new high and has been crawling out of the inner cities and finding its way to places that have never had to deal with home break ins, street crimes and murders at this level. No normal person wants to shoot anyone, much less kill another human being. The people who do that wantonly are either psycho or are pure animals, and there are plenty of both. But more and more stories are occurring where citizens are finding themselves in situations where they, in fact, did have to shoot someone to protect themselves and their family. The right to defend yourself is very powerful, and we can never give it up, especially now.
America is blessed to have an abundance of food.
Sadly, for multiple reasons, we also waste more than 100 billion pounds a year. The upside is, we can feed everyone in the country and even help the rest of the world as well. Thousands of volunteer groups make sure to reach out to those with less and pick up where the government leaves off or in some cases never even got started. And America has no shortage of volunteers. We are a very giving people. We’ve witnessed it yet again with the latest hurricane disaster.
In that same vein, we the people, with our tax dollars, spend about $50 billion a year on foreign aid. We can debate this topic infinitum, but the fact remains, the United States does more for the rest of the world than probably any other nation, maybe even all of them combined. When there’s a disaster, America is Johnny on the spot without question. It’s who we are.
People sneak in, overstay visas or do it the right way and apply for citizenship for some or all of the reasons stated above. I do believe another major reason is the world recognizes that in America if you put your mind to it and work hard, you will be rewarded for your efforts. You can do anything in this country, achieve anything and everything. No one will stop you from your dreams; the only one is you if you don’t try. It may amount to owning a small retail store to taking an idea you have and finding the capital from a family member or a bank who thinks you’re on to something. Success is only an idea away.
The millions of people from around the world who pour across our now open southern border are just hoping for something better. Most are not bad people.
Their nitial prospects may be to work in the service industry or in the fields, which is likely a thousand-fold improvement from where they came from. I’m not endorsing the open border (it needs to be closed down) or condoning the bad that comes with it, but rather pointing out what makes our homeland the great place it is and why everyone in the world wants to come here.
America and the world have undergone some very strange and difficult times these past couple years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. We are learning to adjust to the crazy planet the little virus brought upon us.
Though I was born in Germany, I’m proud to be an American. I’ve never thought of myself as anything else. I love our flag as the symbol of freedoms, as the nation that helps the world, as the place where you can be whatever you want to be.
I look forward to 2022 with some trepidation. It will take a lot to reverse the wrong direction we’re going, but we’re America Strong. Let’s all hope for a better and happy new year.
The author lives in Solvang.