Bonner Day: I thank God for America
“America, which has the most glorious present still existing in the world today, hardly stops to enjoy it, in her insatiable appetite for the future.”
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh
America has too many ingrates. Those are the people who are ungrateful for the blessing of being in America.
Spend a little time with an American returning from abroad and you are reminded that Americans are truly blessed. Listening to my daughter’s experiences in Africa emphasizes just how wonderful is this land of opportunity and freedom.
Ignore the politicians. Most want you to forget that the country has grown and prospered for 240 years, almost despite the ranks upon ranks of vote-seekers.
If you are 20 years old, 240 years are 12 lifetimes. It is four lifetimes if you are an octogenarian. In that period we started with 95 percent of the country living on farms. Now less than 1 percent of the work force is engaged in farming. They are so efficient they supply all our needs, and feed much of the rest of the world.
You don’t miss the water ’til the well runs dry. And you don’t appreciate what a great country you live in until somebody, in my case my daughter, reminds you what is overseas.
Let’s start with the police, today’s favorite punching bag. When you are stopped in America it is because you have infringed the law or are suspected of doing so. It is not because the policeman is demanding a bribe to pass.
In the valley you can leave the house for the day or more and be reasonably confident to find it secure when you come home. In most countries overseas, expect a break-in. My daughter living in Kinshasa solved her home security by renting an apartment on the fourth floor. The first floor was occupied by an Army general, who had personal guards in the courtyard.
Then there are the roads. In the U.S .you can drive on good roads throughout the country. In developing countries you cannot drive to the airport without risking a breakdown.
Go to the market and compare it with a trip to an American supermarket. In a developing country you don’t know what you will find, and often you won’t find what you want.
We take our internet connection for granted. Not in a developing country. If you even have internet, it is much slower. And don’t think about ordering by mail because there is no delivery service. Nowhere but in America is the marketplace so varied and cheap.
Would you trust your body to the medical care of a developing country? Most foreign residents go to Western Europe or to the U.S.
Public schools in the developing world are way behind America. Our schools from elementary through graduate school provide the world’s best scholars of any stripe. Even terrorists come to America for training. Remember the 9-11 pilots? And don’t forget the ones today trying to get in as refugees.
Beyond U.S. borders you find widespread poverty and corruption in most countries. The one breeds the other. It’s hard to love such a country when it holds you back while standing still itself.
When the American Revolution ended, the patriots kicked out the British loyalists – the ones who didn’t leave voluntarily. About 8, 000 went to Canada and another 5,000 moved to East Florida. Some 8,000 white loyalists and 5,000 black loyalists went to Great Britain.
Maybe it is time for another separation of patriots and complainers. In my imagination I can see a future ballot with two choices at the bottom. One labeled, “I want to keep my citizenship,” and the other saying, “I’m unhappy with America and want to relocate.” The country should oblige both groups.
I love my country and I would love it even more if we did not have to suffer those who find it so hard to honor America and its emblems.
Bonner Day loves the valley and the country of which it is a part. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.