A recent study by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project shows the world’s attitude towards the United States. China came out on top. It also shows many in the world, particularly in the Middle East, feel the US tends to act unilaterally and is inconsiderate of other countries.
However, many also still see America as a champion of freedom, innovation and passion — characteristics we’ve always valued.
“America is on TV all the time,” South African Lesego
Seitisho says, “and when the TV is off and America is still switched on in your mind, you see it’s like the land of the free… people live freely.”
All of this got me thinking, what does America mean to me? And then I began to wonder, what does it mean to you?? Let’s start a dialogue.
America is a where we make choices. We make choices of our political leaders. We make a choice to rise above negative circumstances. We make a choice to do something about things we don’t like. We make a choice to become educated and to educate our children. We make a choice to chart our own course in life, no matter what anyone else says. We make a choice to believe, or to not believe, in whatever we want. We make a choice to be who we want to be, say what we want to say, do what we want to do and have the right to make those choices freely, within the confines of law. We make choices about dozens of things on a daily basis, all freely and independently, with no one telling us we cannot make them, or what we have to choose.
America is where we live without fear. We live safely in most areas of our towns and
cities. We believe what we want and say what we want, and not fear someone will harm us or our families. We openly worship in our churches, synagogues, temples and mosques freely and without fear. We speak of our beliefs openly and honestly, without fear of persecution. We have open and even contentious political debate. Our media says what it wants without fear of someone in power shutting it down because they don’t like it. We don’t fear the criticism of the rest of the world when we make a mistake, because we know we are free to have it exposed, admit it and rectify it. And when we don’t like what someone says or does, we can protest, and speak our minds without fear of reprisal.
America is where we share ourselves freely with the world, sometimes to our detriment. We freely educate our children and the children of our immigrants, even illegal ones. We export the best (and sometimes worst) of ourselves in our television, music, literature, movies and people as tourists, diplomats and service members go abroad. We are one of the very few places in the world that has a problem of too many people wanting to get in, not out. This is actually a good problem to have, if you stop and think about it.
America is a nation founded on people who believed in freedom. Freedom to go out
and build a future for themselves and their families in their own businesses. Freedom to be educated in classics so they understood the past and could interpret the times correctly. Freedom to believe God had a higher purpose for their lives, and it was their duty to fulfill it. Freedom to spend their golden years in selfless sacrificial service to their country and humanity.
Yes, we have issues. Yes, we are often like a dysfunctional family. But, like most dysfunctional families, we pull together when times are tough, when we are attacked from without and show ourselves to be strong, resilient and resolved. World Wars I & II
and the aftermath of September 11 showed that to the world.
America is free as long as we remember it, and as long as we do what keeps us free. That’s what America means to me. What about you?