Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Some people like to spend the 4th of July blowing their fingers off.  I prefer to take the time to reflect on what it means to be a citizen of this nation.

In past years, I have recalled the Revolutionary War, thinking about how cool it was that the darn-awesome Patriots took down those stupid Redcoats.  I have thought of the Veterans that have made it possible for this country to be safe and free.  And I have thought about how lucky I am to have the rights outlined for me in the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment.

But I must be a college student because this year, things aren't quite so rosy.  When I was little I remember being told how lucky I was to live in a nation where I could express doubts about my government.  In other places, people were stoned for such things.  I remember tales of places where women were little more than property, who had no voice in politics or at all.  And so I was swept into loving being American because that is what I was, but also because we were the best...

Certainly, I believe I am lucky to live in a nation where I can vote and run for office and say anything I want about the government.  Where I can get a good education and safely raise my family in the future.  Life here is very, very good.

But I think sometimes we have a little too much American pride.  I didn't know when I was little that there were nations that not only let women vote, but elected them into office as well.  I didn't know there were places where people are healthier than we are, and I most certainly didn't know that there were places where people are much, much happier than we are.

Guys, in 2010, the US ranked 90th in terms of women's representation in government.  However, we do rank highly in the illustrious and coveted posts of defense spending and oil and energy consumption.

I'm not saying we don't live in a great country.  I AM saying that we do not at all live in a country that could be in any way considered the best.  If it could have been at one time, it is not now, my friends, and our Empire comes ever closer to toppling.  So instead of running around thinking about how great we are, let's think about how we can be better.  We should do this even when at number one, but as we are surpassed by many other nations, we must keep running even to stay in the same place.  Pride will not help us. Pride goeth before a fall.

So yes, it is good that I live in a nation where I am allowed to write this.  But it would be better if I didn't have to.

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