My America is not the perfect America that draws hundreds of thousands of people to our shores. My America is made up of individual personalities, rural areas, towns and cities that provide the patchwork makeup of the views and beliefs that bind this America into one large pulsating mass of organized chaos. My America was not developed overnight nor was it imported as a superior way to provide a democratic way of life and governance. My America was discovered by individuals with beliefs that were persecuted in one country and escaped that persecution here to find a better life. Those escaping and landing on the shores of the new yet unnamed America were left to their own devices to survive brutal winters, disease and a hostile environment. They carved out of the chilly shores and hills of Massachusetts shelter and built coalitions with the local Native population to live, eat and survive for the next few years until more of those persecuted arrived to this new haven of rest and sanctuary. My America then spread across the continent to discover new lands, raw materials with the hopes and dreams of so many who lived and died fulfilling those dreams.
My America was not made up of the privileged class only but a broad cross section of the Irish, Polish, Russian, Mexican, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, black and white of whose broad backgrounds were melded into the basic foundations, beliefs and religious tenants we embrace today. Certainly there are the wealthy and the poor but overall the diverse makeup provides a broad base of skills and ideas when put into play makes lives better for those around us. For example the development of electric light bulbs illuminated homes, factories and streets. The advent of antibiotics improved the health and welfare of millions. The Wright brothers and Neil Armstrong brought us closer to the heavens than ever before. I do not claim that my America was the sole developer and inventor of those products; I merely postulate when those ideas were developed, there was the freedom to develop them even further and allow access by individuals and business to those inventions.
My America has laws that appear to take the sanctity of life as a precious commodity and in my America we do not stone our daughters or wife for various indiscretions, lop off the hands and feet of criminals to prevent further recidivism nor do we behead individuals to force our views on others in acts of terrorism meant to sway public opinion. We do not rape our women to force our ideals and political agenda on others along with other acts of brutality.
My America does not always embrace the same ideas or thoughts about any one subject. My America has the maturity to engage in meaningful dialogue and discussion to arrive at an idea that many can grasp and adopt. My America is a land of diverse opinion for which we are thankful. We do not appoint our political leaders, we elect them; we are dependent on others for many of the raw materials required to make this society productive; we have poverty, starvation, illiteracy and infant mortality. Is it because there is no perfect utopian society? It is with much sadness when our young die from malnutrition or from disease; it is with much sadness when our elderly die lonely, penniless or abandoned; it is with much sadness when you see homeless families on the streets begging for a handout or meal; it is with much sadness when you cannot change those conditions for everyone by legislative acts or gifts from charity.
Because of opportunity found in my America, every person has been provided equal access and equal opportunity to become what they strive to be. Be it truck driver, firefighter, cop, attorney, president of a large corporation or of the United States, all who live in my America have the opportunity to become whatever they want to be. It would be foolish to purport that all have the same opportunity be it the poor child born to poverty and illiteracy; or the Mexican national crossing in the dead of night to work in my America; be it the white Anglo-Saxon child in middle America that has the chance to grasp the opportunity to improve their social standing and opportunity to become what they so choose. Opportunity does not shine equally on all of our citizens.
My America is the best it can be and it continues to get better. My America doesn’t travel very well but I would not want to be anywhere else but in my America.