Tuesday, July 05, 2005

25 Reasons 

Twenty-five reasons I'm still glad I'm a native resident of the United States of America.
  1. Our Constitution. It, and the Bill of Rights, are the finest and most enduring guarantee of Democracy and Freedom in the world. Despite several mis-steps along the way -- Prohibition, the eternal attempt at an anti-Flag Burning Amendment -- this document and what it stands for are America. Anyone who would try to weaken the Constitution, for any reason whatsoever, is Un-American. Anyone who would try to use the Constitution to regulate behavior of the citizens, rather than regulate behavior of the government, is Un-American. Anybody who would mock Constitutional Rights because one criminal may go free, rather than one innocent person may not be unjustly arrested, is Un-American.

  2. The country is enduring; the government is fleeting. Unlike a monarchy, where one family rules forever, barring unusual circumstances, America cannot be caught in the grip of a dynasty. Sure, we may suffer the extended torture of being ruled by a family that doesn't deserve the job. But the tide will inevitably turn. And, when world opinion turns against us (flashback to the late 19th Century), leaders change, policies change, and goodwill returns (flashback to the 1940s).

  3. George W. Bush can never be elected President again. Or for the first time. Although it's probably better just to claim that he was elected, lest the Republicans get any bright ideas.

  4. No single religion dominates political discourse in this country. True, the Christians seem to be an overly-chattery voice of late; but by the same token, America has been one of the few countries where Jews have been all but assimilated without losing their identity. And, despite what the census would indicate, a vast majority of those who identify themselves with one religion or another really aren't all that religious -- Christmas Christians, Easter Catholics, Passover Jews, etc. This is a secular nation, and has a good chance of remaining so.

  5. I have the right to not believe, and no Inquisition will force me to do otherwise. Even modern day England still disallows anyone who has converted to Catholicism from becoming King or Queen. In theory, anybody of any religion can become president here, as long as they'll be 35 at innauguration and were native born.

  6. If you think you're paying too much in taxes, talk to someone from Canada or Great Britain.

  7. If you think cigarettes are too expensive, talk to anyone from Europe.

  8. If you think gas is too expensive, talk to anyone from a place other than the middle east or South America.

  9. I've managed to never see an episode of Survivor or American Idol, first because I have absolutely no interest in either; second because I have so many other options.

  10. I can write this blog and, short of making death threats, never have to worry about the goons kicking down my door in the middle of the night. (The terms of this item are subject to change, but given earlier points, I think we might make it past that threat.)

  11. I don't have to pay a tax or take a test or prove my party loyalty in order to vote.

  12. I have the right to be tried by a jury of my peers, in an open court, facing my accusers. (Currently, strike this item if I get hauled off to Gitmo -- but, again, the tide against that heinous breach of the Constitution seems to be turning.)

  13. We can impeach the President and Vice President at any time. Thanks to the Republicans, the standards for impeachment are very low. Thanks to W., we don't need to stoop that low to find reasons.

  14. Sometimes, it's good to let the lunatics run the asylum for a while. It makes their defeat so much more complete. Perhaps it's a good thing that the federal government is resisting gay marriage right now. The more countries that decide to legalize it, the stupider their resistance will appear, until they are forced to reject it and go overboard, just to save face. Reminder from history: the people who did the most damage to Rightwing Red-Baiting of the 50s were Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover, because they just went batshit crazy.

  15. When I walk down the street in my neighborhood, some of my neighbors look like me and some don't, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have no official language, despite what some xenophobes would insist. Ask an American, "What are you?" and their first answer will not be American (no matter how many generations they've been here) but the countries of origin of their ancestors. Our culture is diverse and mixed, created by immigrants and thriving on immigrants. Personally, I have ancestors who immigrated fairly recently; I have ancestors who came here when the Pilgrims did. I have direct ancestors in every major country in Europe -- and yet none of their offspring met until they reached these shores. I have almost (but not quite) determined that I also have Native American and African ancestors. All of these people who would have never met back in their own countries mixed and mingled in the cities of this country. Irish and German, French and Italian, English and Dutch, Polish and Danish; Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Brazilian, Mexican, Filipino, Jamaican, Greek, Russian, and on and on and on -- you can't name a regional or ethnic group on the planet that does not live in the US. I'm sure we even have Basques here, and they're notoriously isolationist. The country is much stronger and much more interesting for that.

    Incidentally, I spent the evening of the Fourth of July in neighborhood where the majority language is not English. The celebrations there were flashier and more fervent than I would have found in, say, a snow-white enclave like the far West Valley. Politically, "United States" may refer to fifty geographical divisions of part of the continent and amended lands. In reality, it really refers to the fifty (and much more) groups that make up the people of those lands. Those who would block immigration or insist on monolithic language and culture are the true Un-Americans. Unless, of course, their parents and grandparents and on ad infinitum spoke Navajo or Cree or Sioux or...

  16. Our movies really do kick ass, when they don't suck. It's a small thing, and kind of stupid, but even a bad Hollywood blockbuster is better constructed than any film from anywhere else in the world, at least on a technical level.

  17. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

  18. Every major advance in space science has come from NASA, Sputnik notwithstanding. The Soviets may have gotten into space before us, but we picked up the ball and ran. The moon landing, the space shuttle, every major extra-terrestrial probe, the first visit to a non-terrestrial moon and, most recently, a slam-dunk impact on a comet -- we all done dat. Granted, to kick space exploration up to the next level we should really use a multi-national approach -- but the know-how, skill, technology and all that is America's specialty. We are Portugal of the 15th Century; what we do best is explore, being a country born of exploration. Ad astra per astera. Although we haven't had a lot of the astera on the way to the astra (Look it up, you lazy n00bs) - two shuttle crashes out of 114 missions? You find me a bus system that's done as well, with a lot easier mission.

  19. The porn capital of the world is still in the San Fernando Valley, despite John Asscrap's best efforts. And anybody with a video cam and a computer can be a movie maker, without fearing editing or suppression for "political content." Remember -- MPAA rating is a voluntary endeavor. And art is still a defense against censorship.

  20. For good or ill, I'm more likely to feel at home in your country than you are to feel in mine. After importing the world and creating ourselves, the US became expert at exporting ourselves back out. I can find a McDonald's in Paris, if I want to (blech), but a Frenchman will be hard-pressed to find authentic French cuisine anywhere in the US outside of New Orleans. But, at the same time, I've met enough immigrants here in the US that I also know about a lot of local things that haven't made it here yet, and thanks to the Internet, know enough slang to get me around in England or Australia.
    "And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?"
    "They don't call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?"
    "No man, they got the metric system... They call it a Royale with cheese."
    "A Royale with cheese. What do they call a Big Mac?"
    "Well, a Big Mac's a Big Mac, but they call it le Big-Mac."
    "Le Big-Mac. Ha ha ha ha. What do they call a Whopper?"
    "I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King."
  21. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

  22. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

  23. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

  24. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

  25. George W. cannot be (re)elected President again.

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