As I get older I find myself reflecting on life. More specifically on my life here in this country. I think of what this life has given me and my family. I speculate on how life might have been different in some other country. I know from time to time we all take our freedoms for granted. I do. I try to be thankful for what this all means, but I know I fall short. I don’t mean to compare living in America with living somewhere else; I just want to note some of what living as an American means to me.
Here in my seventh decade of life I still am amazed by the little things. I got up this morning and switched the thermostat on to air conditioning and within minutes my home was deliciously comfy. In the kitchen, I push a button and in moments I have hot coffee. I push another button and cook my breakfast. I serve myself on beautiful dishes which, after breakfast, I place in the dishwasher to have ready for my next meal.
I turn on the TV and watch the news. If I don’t like what one station is reporting, I turn to another and another. It’s my choice. I go outside and get the newspaper. The news disturbs me and I write a letter to the editor expressing my unhappiness with some politician or some government program, and nobody comes knocking on my door to ask for an “explanation.” It is great to be an American.
What if, back in 1940, I had been born to Jewish parents in Germany, or drawn my first breath in Central Africa? What if I had been born in Stalin’s Russia, the Middle East or even worse in North Korea? As a matter of question, what if I had been born anywhere but in this glorious country called America? Knowing me the way I do, it is unlikely I would have survived to my seventh decade.
The lives which we take for granted here in America are mere dreams for the majority of the world. The poorest among us live lives of luxury when compared to the rest of the world. Our freedoms are too precious to take for granted. When we get tired of a politician, we vote him out and give him a fat pension. We don’t shoot him and his family. When Congress passes a law that doesn’t work, we override it through the courts. And no one is above the law. The same speed limit that applies to me on the highway applies to presidents and all government officials alike.
This column is about my love affair with America. This column is about how proud I am to have been so blessed to have been born here instead of those other places I talked about. It is my hope reading it will cause you to re-examine your life here in America. How blessed you and I are.