My America was a real place. There, you could find hope. There, you could not only dream but forge those dreams into reality. There are those who will tell you that my America never existed and that it is a figment of my imagination. The waters of time have eroded the jagged rocks of my America leaving only smooth surfaces and I can no longer feel the hard edges they will say. Still others will say that I’m remembering fondly, things that never were.
I will tell you right now that my America was a real place. It was never perfect, but in all the world it was special. People risked their lives to come to my America. People from distant lands watched as their children boarded ships bound for my America. Many of these people would never again see their children but knew that my America offered opportunities they could not find anywhere else in the world. They gladly parted with their children knowing that my America was the greatest gift they could bestow upon them. The history of my America is littered with tales of those who started out with nothing and achieved great success and wealth. It was a place where it was assumed that a man or woman would always achieve greater success than their parents.
My America was a liberator and defender of freedom across the globe. Millions of people all over the world owe their freedom to my America. In the history of the world, my America stood alone as a country that was not only slow to make war, but upon conquering its enemies would invest its treasure in rebuilding the vanquished. My America liberated Europe in the 1940′s, Kuwait in the 1990′s and Iraq in the 2000′s. My America liberated death camps and was a beacon of freedom for 235 years.
My America was altruistic and routinely came to the aid of those in distress and need. My America was a force for good in the world.
My America was the most industrious country on the face of the earth. Her industrial output was staggering and the rest of the world watched in awe as cars, ships, airplanes and consumer goods poured from her factories in unheard of amounts. American brand names were revered all over the world and to have the “Made In U.S.A.” label on a product ensured that the quality was second to none.
My America undertook audacious construction projects that amazed the world. The Hoover dam and the Panama and Erie canals spring to mind. My America explored space and went to the moon. My America cured diseases. My America invented products used all over the world.
My America was not a perfect place. Scratch her veneer and there is ugliness to be found just below the surface. There was slavery in my America. There was genocide inflicted upon the indigenous people who populated the continent long before European settlers arrived. There were internment camps where American citizens of Japanese descent were locked up, ostensibly to protect the rest of the population from them. There were Jim Crow laws and racial inequality. There was gender inequality. There were worker abuses in my America. These issues, while mostly a thing of the past, have left scars on my America, but as the years go by, the scars fade with age. Like a living organism, my America heals herself and her people heal along with her.
Despite her past shortcomings, my America is the greatest country to ever grace the planet.
Note to Reader: “My America” is actually the introduction to a novel I’m writing. The working title is “Butt Cracks Save America!” The book focuses on individual achievement and its contribution to turning our country’s ill fortunes around. Feel free to leave comments or Tweet your comments.