Friday, July 04, 2008

I Live in the Worst Country on Earth

Except for all the others.

Today in the Fourth of July. I would like to reflect on the things I love and the things I hate about my country. Let's start with the things I love

Freedom - We have the freedom to worship and believe and act on those beliefs. While this is messy, we probably have the most diverse views of faith and religion and religious practice in the world. We also have considerable economic freedom and in the USA almost anyone with a good idea can make it big. Finally, we have political freedom. Our Constitution does not grant rights to the people, it recognizes the rights granted by God.

Political System - while I don't like the new 24/7 political wrangling and constant campain whre every word or sentence or action of every member of the political classes is scrutanized for its impact on the next election, our electoral system is probably the best in the world. While I wish we had better people in office (vote for me, Phil Snyder, for Benevolent Dictator, 2008!), we probably have as good as any other country.

Inventiveness - The USA is responsible for the internet, for many advances in the fields of computers, physics, chemestry, etc. Since we were the place where people who didn't get along with their current governments went for so long, we got a lot of people who like to think differently. This gave us a great pool of inventors. I owe my job to the Apollo moon missions because it was the shrinking of components that was necessary to support Apollo that gave us the desktop and laptop computers.

Now, the things I don't like
Individualism - we have moved from a country where we supported each other to a country were we fight each other over small stuff. As a trivial example, consider traffic where there is a lane closure. We all hate this and we hate even more, the people who zoom along in the empty lane, waiting until the last minute to merge. This increases the bottle neck at the merge point and slows down everyone else. A couple of years ago, my wife and I went to the opening of WalMart for it's after Christmas sale. The majority of people joined the line but a handful (about 50) stood at the door and rushed it when it opened so they could get the best deals. We have forgotten our sense of community. This leads to abortion on demand (I want what's best for me and I don't care about anyone else), pornography, drug use and abuse, worship of self, and a lot of our social woes.

Consumerism - we are a nation of consumers. We are being sold to constantly and we look to things to make us happy. God created us to love people and use things, but we love things and use people (see individualism above). We spend too much time and too much money to buy too much stuff that can't fulfill us. We overspend because we want it all and we want it now. Stuff is not evil in itself, but our attraction to stuff gets in the way of our relationships with others and with God. Just about everything in life - from toothpaste to our political candidates are branded and sold to us, not offered to us to consider.

Even when I think our country can be greatly improved, I still think it is the best country on earth. May God bless us and recall us to Himself.

Phil Snyder

1 comment:

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