Friday, October 20, 2006

Why I love USA...

My love for our country isn't the sort of jingoistic drivel that you hear on most country music station, ie. love our country because it our country and other circular logic crap. No, I realize that there is a lot lacking in this great nation of ours.

For starters, our politicians must be the lowest form of human being on the planet. Most are unethical, sleazy, and rather ineffectual (see public parasites) and creating any sort of positive change (see rising deficits, lack of peace, crumbling infrastructure, etc..) Furthermore, for all our boasting, we are not number 1 in several important areas. Our vaunted education system is falling down around us and our students are falling behind the rest of the world in math, sciences, and, I would guess, even the classic humanities. We don't have the healthiest nation anymore; our medicinal complex is no longer the envy of the rest of the world. Furthermore, healthcare is becoming terribly expensive in the country, so much so that many don't ever (I mean ever) see a doctor. We are no longer respected in the world. I have many friends who pretend to be Canadian while traveling abroad. I had a girl from Ireland ask me if I was ashamed to admit that I was an American when we were in a sauna in Sydney. Finally, we aren't even feared anymore. North Korea flaunts their disregard of our might because deep down they know that we are spread too thin with war in Iraq (in both troop count and moral support for violence). I realize that in order to be the best nation on earth again we need to see that we aren't doing a lot of thing very well right now, and that other nations seem to have figured it out some things better than we have. We shouldn't be too proud to learn from others.

That said, I still love this nation because deep down in its core is an essential freedom that other nations simply lack. I was listening to the radio to a discussion about the Christian Armenian holocaust at the turn of the last century. What was left of the Ottoman Empire, or Turkey as we now know it, killed thousands of Armenian and Kurds. Some historians have labeled it the first holocaust in a century of holocausts. Anyway, this 100+ year old event is still causing tension in Europe and the new EU.

Recently, a Turkish author has been prosecuted in Turkey for discussing the holocaust in his book. It appears that it is against the law for someone to mention it in Turkey under some law that defends Turkey’s reputation from its own citizens. In response, France has passed a law making it illegal to deny the Armenian holocaust.

I love America because we would never do this. I could not imagine USA ever passing a law that would punish someone for writing about a horrible, shameful event in our past. Can you imagine the USA sending someone who wrote about Wounded Knee or the Trail of Tears going to prison because we as a nation were ashamed of our treatment of the native Americans and didn't want it discussed. Furthermore, could you ever imagine us doing as France did and making it illegal to deny a holocaust? Sure, we shun people who deny the Jewish holocaust and we get angry at those who are currently denying Dafur, but we would never make it illegal. Furthermore, we couldn't pass these laws even if we wanted to, they would be blatantly unconstitutional.

Our freedom of speech and freedom of expression are the bedrock of this nation. It is this freedom that separates of from all others, it is our commitment to the principal that will preserve America forever. There have been attacks and movements against the first amendment within our own boarders. Ever so often (normally when the Republicans are in trouble at the polls, so I’m surprised it hasn’t come up yet) some politicians bring up the concept of illegalizing Flag burning. I put these people as cohorts with the French and Turks, people who don't really understand what means to be an American is and what our freedom entails. But these people are few and far between. I don't think a flag burning amendment would pass because our love of free speech runs to deep in this nation and would prevent people from voting for it despite their respect for the symbol itself (love of freedom > love of symbols).

And that is why I love America. (Or just one of the reasons...more to be posted later)

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