Recently, I asked this question on Twitter:
What is the best thing about the USA?— Helen Hensell (@hhensell) September 7, 2020
With everything going on in the US, I was genuinely curious what people really thought and felt about this country.
Growing up, I was raised by a mom, who was probably the most realistic person I’ve ever met. She refused to be swayed in the magic of the American Dream that just seemed to happen out of thin air to some people. She knew that in order for that to be a reality you had to work at it. Nothing in life was free after all. She knew that America wasn’t the land with the golden roads and endless opportunities.
America was real. It was as real as the air that you breathed in inner-city Detroit or the smoke permeating the air in California. Sure, America wasn’t perfect, but neither was life. America is a place where people can dream big and where people can say what they want about whomever they want.
So, the best thing about America, I would have to say, is the freedom.
We have freedom here in America. We are free to speak our minds. We are free to own and carry a gun, thanks to the second amendment. We have freedom to walk outside and organize a protest to fight against injustice. We have the freedom to fight for what we believe in. As Americans, we are free to do these things because that is what this country was built on. And it is one of the things that attracts so many to come here. Because when people are not free, then they live in fear. And what kind of life is that?
There is no doubt that America is a very big country. In fact, it is the third largest country in the world, right behind Russia and Canada. Because of that, America boasts so many different types of landscapes. By driving or traveling by train from coast to coast, one can see so much of the terrain. And one can be amazed and in awe at the Rocky Mountains to the Grand Canyon to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Every state, including Alaska and Hawaii, has something unique to offer, rather its the climate or the geography, or the mountains or the desert. There is something here for everyone.
It is definitely no secret that America is a very diverse country. Some countries in other parts of the world are known for being quite mono ethnic. But in America, it is nice to be able to walk outside and see people who have different skin color and features and are of varying heights and sizes. It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to live in a country in which everyone have the same ethnic background. For me, as a biracial individual, that would almost be an impossibility.
The fact that there is diversity in this country is what makes America great. Because there is diversity, it gives us more opportunities to learn about people’s backgrounds and cultures. It makes us more open minded and tolerant. Of course, America isn’t perfect and we still have a long way to go to combat some of the internal racism that unfortunately many people are still experiencing today (including yours truly).
But we can combat this racism by first and foremost embracing diversity as one of America’s greatest assets and not as a disadvantage or an annoyance.
America is a very young country, and yet it can’t be denied that America is a very strong country. When an outside force threatens us, then we, as Americans, come together as a unified force. Unity is oftentimes the only thing that can help beat a greater adversity.
I remember after 9/11 happened, so many examples of patriotism cropped up in the media. Even more recently, we were — and continue to be — united during the Covid-19 pandemic. We remained an unbreakable force on social media, even when we were under lock down and physically separated from other Americans. After the tragic murder of George Floyd, so many people risked their good health and lives to speak out against the injustice of it all by marching together.
Whenever something horrible happens, Americans stand together. This unity is what makes America great because it transforms the non-believers into dreamers.
In America, dreams can come true. At least, that is what I’ve always been told in history books and novels. In America, if you have the idea and the dream, then you can achieve it. In America, if you work hard, then you can move up the social economic ladder and even, eventually, break and shatter the highest glass ceiling. In America, anything is possible if you have a dream and enough nerve to achieve it.
So, America is a country that still has a lot to learn, and it has made a lot of mistakes. But at the same time, it has also done so much good for other people and nations. Because of that, we shouldn’t give up hope on America. We should keep believing that one day, perhaps sooner than we think, America will be even better. As long as we remain united, then all things are possible.
What do you think? What is the best thing about America? Feel free to comment here, or on my twitter thread. I’d love to hear your thoughts!