I have to confess that while I'm grateful for the freedoms and the life I have here in America, I am not ignorant to the fact that I could live quite similarly in at least a dozen other countries. Somehow, most of the western world seems to operate to a similar standard. But then they are not free republics. They don't pledge allegiance to the flag, or whatever their flag stands for. Most of them don't claim to be one nation, indivisible, or under God. And a surprising number of them don't promise liberty and justice for all.
How then do they pull this off? How do they get a quality of life that is so similar to that of the almight U.S. of A.? More the point - if they can accomplish something so similar without being one nation under God - then how important is this American ideal expressed in our own pledge of allegiance?
Somehow, we Americans walk around thinking that we are this unique political experiment. We tend to view our way of life as being substantially superior to that of many other countries. Americans are grateful to be American. Most of us wouldn't ever want to hail from anywhere else. But it's not that we have factual evidence to show that America is this special land that enjoys unique favor from God. We don't.
Quite candidly, I sometimes worry that Americans are caught in some deep pit of denial. We stroll through life with rose-colored glasses, thinking we're all that special. On one level, this overlooks way to many of our shortcomings - allowing us to ignore them and not address them or even own up to them. On another level, this undoubtedly keeps us from ever reaching our true potential.
I agree that America is a great country, and I'm glad to be an American. But I have to say I think it should be more special. Being an American should be more valuable to the Americans (like me) than it is. People from around the world are dying to get here and be American with us. I wonder how many Americans would be willing to risk everything in order to be an American.
I started this blog saying that I doubt whether the rest of the world can truly grasp the vast and complex paradigm that Americans occupy. But then again, maybe it's a good thing they don't. After all, there doesn't seem to be any benefit in dragging the rest of the world into our denial with us. Liberty and justice for all.