America may never be perfect, but we can make it the best it can be, if we try.
As we approach the celebrated anniversary of our nation’s birth, July 4th, many people feel the country is not headed in the right direction. And while this nation’s citizens prepare for a long (for some) weekend of travel, backyard parties, cookouts, and fireworks displays, there exists a large faction of people living within these borders that honestly believe the United States is a terrible place to be.
But my question to them is, where else would you rather be, and why aren’t you there? The US has no restrictions on people who wish to move to another nation permanently. If you truly believe the US is evil and unworthy of your support, why stay here?
I would imagine your answer would be you stay because you want to make the US a better nation. But for whom? If by making America a better nation, do you mean one where all the laws and policies are in line with your particular political views? What about those living here who have differing views from your own? Once you make your changes, won’t they focus their efforts on changing it back the way it was? Or should they just leave?
By the way, are you truly working for change, or just complaining about the way things are? Are you campaigning for office, or just griping about the ones who just keep getting re-elected and doing nothing? Are you willing to serve the country to make it better?
You don’t have to run for office to make a difference. You can volunteer your time to help someone else with whom you have similar interests and beliefs get elected. You can work with local officials to make your own city a little better, and set an example to which other cities can aspire.
You don’t have to be a certified teacher to help underprivileged children learn to read and conquer math and science. Have you worked with summer youth programs that provide learning opportunities while school is out, programs that give your city’s youth something to occupy their minds?
Have you worked with summer food programs that provide fresh fruits and vegetables to the underprivileged? Have you donated you time and/or money to assist with clothing drives for those who have lost their jobs, through loss of manufacturing or bad decisions about drugs and alcohol?
Have you written letters to your representatives, local officials and newspaper editors about injustices that you see in your area? Have you offered your services to them to help correct these problems and issues?
Far too many of us have resigned themselves to the fact that the responsibility for taking care of those less fortunate individuals should fall to the ever-increasing central government. It is hard for us to understand that the United States didn’t exist 250 years ago, and there was no central government that provided for everyone’s basic needs.
Communities, churches and civic groups provided for each other, either through bartering for goods and services, or by extending charity to those who had fallen on hard times. Neighbors helped neighbors, and even helped weary travelers passing through.
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Today we just pay our taxes, complaining all the while about doing even that, and want to sit back and let the government take care of what we once considered needs and wants, but have somehow morphed in to basic rights.
America is a great nation, because individuals built the country from the ground up. We citizens built it together. Many were mistreated along the way, tons of mistakes were made, and so many, many times, the wrong decisions were made by our leaders.
But we are still here. And America is a great nation. We can make it even better for all of us, if we get out of our recliners, roll up our sleeves, open our checkbooks and accept that the responsibility that maintaining America the Beautiful belongs to us, and not some central power.
If we can’t do that here, where we have the freedom to criticize our government, replace our elected officials without military violence, and work together side-by-side, then tell me where it can be done.
That’s where I would like to live.