As a naturalized citizen to the United States, 4th of July carries a special meaning to me. I am not blinded by romantic patriotism that can be seen in commercials, but I am also not jaded by our troubles. I say this all the time, and I will say now; the United States is an imperfect country, but it is still the best among all the imperfect countries out there… I usually don’t use the word “imperfect” when I make this comment, please do make your unique substitutions to the word.
I am grateful to be here, and now that I am here it is my duty to fight the good fights. I love this country for many reasons. Here are the two most prevalent reasons:
1.) Unique speed of change:
World history is full of bigotry, racism, hatred, narcissism, egotism, selfishness and this country by no means is an exception. But the speed at which the United States tries to rectify and change is unique in the world. God knows we can do better, we have to do better, we are still not good enough! We need to do better for all races, all immigrants, all sexes, all sexual orientations and all socio-economic fates. We are still not even close to good enough. But, but, and this is a very-very important but, I will not get jaded and apathetic just because we are not perfect yet. I look back at history and recognize that within a short 100 years just how much change already happened! Somehow against all odds, change persevered, in historical perspective, this change was light speed, and this speed is unique to the United States. We cannot get jaded just because it is still imperfect. We need to get inspired by our accomplishments and push on with our challenges. Look at how much we already done! Don’t sit back, just because your grandmother won the right to vote. Stand up and demand higher wages, don’t wait for someone to vote for it, that’s not what grandma did, they all spoke out. So stand up and speak out, demand your voice. There are many more changes to demand! Hug all beings, love all beings and demand equality. As an immigrant, I have to tell you, yes it is hard, some people will stop your way, but you do live in the USA and on July 4th it is good to remember…everything is possible. It will not come fast enough, it will not be easy, but it is possible!
2.) The option to change/better yourself at any age:
Before you take the critical negative rhetoric that has been all over the media, may I point out that there is no other country where you could go back to school as easily at any age as the United States (and I am from Europe… just in case you get an idea) ! In most countries, you would be ridiculed, or the option would not even be there. I know the socio-economic divide creates heartbreaking challenges. But it is possible. Adult education at any age, change at any age is possible, and even better, it is welcomed. There are very few places on the world where making a mid-life career change is as socially acceptable as in the United States. Now we have to make it financially easier for everyone. But listen to me, don’t get jaded, it is possible!
Do you know how lucky we are?
We are lucky to live here. I will fight the good fights, but I will not get negative. Nothing positive was ever accomplished over anger, fear mongering and negativity. We are not perfect, so let’s get to work! But on 4th of July, let’s take a moment to remember how lucky we are to live in the United States.
Happy 4th of July,