Happy Fourth of July!  July Fourth is full of great events, up to and including Randy’s birthday.  Many years ago, when Randy and Maggie lived in our cul-de-sac, Randy and Bruce would compete to see who could buy/set off the most fireworks.  Ahhh…the good old days.  I suppose that depends on your opinion, though.  I’m pretty sure my mom wasn’t thrilled when one of their fireworks took an unexpected flight directly to her house.  Luckily, it didn’t burn down, or I’d have never heard the end of it.

This is the strangest Independence Day I’ve ever experienced.  I saw a post on Facebook the other day, and one of the replies was “I hate this country.”  My immediate reaction was to reply with a “Then move” comment, but I didn’t.  I figured that would set off another whole firestorm I didn’t want to get involved in.

So, here’s my take on America.  Do we have problems?  Yes.  Have we improved?  Yes.  Could we do better?  Yes.  Should we “burn down” the country to improve it?  NO.  You’d have to be totally insane to think that is the solution to any problem.  Loving your country is like loving your spouse.  Even though they snore, nag, leave the toilet seat up/down, or forget your anniversary, you still love them.

I think some people have forgotten just how great America is, and that’s incredibly sad.  Even with all our faults, people are still clamoring to get in, so we can’t be that bad, can we?  What mystifies me is the amount of people who say they hate America.  If that’s true, then why don’t they just leave?  Nobody is stopping them.  That’s the beauty of freedom.  Of course, we all know why they don’t, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with finances.  Where would they go?

Here’s a few suggestions.  North Korea.  That government will take away all your rights, but you’ll be fed and clothed, even if it won’t be steak and designer duds.  And you won’t have to make many decisions because they’ll make them all for you.  How about Africa?  One thing that seems to have gotten lost in the current conversation is that the slave trade started because of them.  They sold their own people, but I might be willing to overlook that point if I could have a pet lion running around in my back yard.  Canada.  It’s close enough you could walk there, and they have socialized medicine.  Woohoo!  Of course, you might have to see a doctor in the U.S. if you want an elective surgery sometime this century.  Okay, how about New Zealand?  That’s a beautiful country, from what we’ve seen by watching House Hunters International.  You might want to wait a bit, though, because right now they’re tearing down “racist” statues all over that country, too.  (Google “controversy New Zealand”.)

EVERY country has its problems.  EVERY country has a history they’re not proud of.  But loving a country is (as I alluded to before) exactly like a marriage.  You don’t divorce your spouse because of the number of times they tick you off.  You only divorce them when the good times don’t outweigh the bad.  It should be the same with loving your country.  Stop focusing in on all the bad things and try to remember the good.  With America, that’s easy to do, if you have even a limited knowledge of history.

Because of “us” people all over the world are safer.  Did we do it alone?  Of course not.  But we’ve always been a leader when it comes to fighting the evil in the world.  And we’re not called the “melting pot” of the world for nothing.  We’re a nation of immigrants and welcome them.  Assuming they come legally.  And, by the way, we lock our front doors at night so random strangers can’t just walk in and make themselves comfortable.  Rules on entry into the U.S. should be no different than rules for our household.  You’ll be welcomed with open arms when we open the door but beware if you open it yourself.  Just sayin’.

Bottom line on America is this.  We live in the U.S.  Take out those periods, and American becomes US.  “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  We could all use Abraham Lincoln about now, don’t you think?  But let’s not forget that even with all its foibles, questionable past, and pockets of extremely strange people, it’s still the best place on the planet to live.  And it takes all of US to keep it the best place.  My prayer for today is that we remember that, stop living in the past, and work together to make a better tomorrow.  Well, that, and hopefully the illegal fireworks that are sure to happen later don’t burn down our house.

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