On July 4th, we will once again celebrate our independence from the tyranny of England. Those British monarchs can be so oppressive. If it were up to Queen Elizabeth, we’d all be forced to drink Earl Grey tea with every meal.
Every year at this time, Americans proudly mark our independence with fireworks, burgers on the grill and binge drinking. And why shouldn’t we? Ours is the greatest nation in the solar system. I’m a patriotic American – something my wife will never understand because, sadly, she’s Canadian.
When it comes to being great, no country on earth is better than the U.S. of A. We’re NUMBER ONE! Look at the Olympics – God almost always backs the Americans – except in soccer – because he knows that Americans love God more than any other country. Every time a U.S. athlete wins, the first thing he does is give thanks to God. The Czech Republic (ranked the least religious nation on earth) never thanks God. And do you remember the last time they won a gold medal? Me neither. Because they hate God.
Oh sure, I’ve read a few misleading statistics about how the USA ranks 12th in college graduates, 27th in life expectancy, 37th in healthcare, 47th in press freedom and 53rd in ability to locate Mexico on a map. (I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere west of France.) But most of those statistics came from CNN’s World Desk Editor Fareed Zakaria. And that sure doesn’t sound like an American name to me. He probably has an axe to grind about his visa status.
I don’t care what statistics you want to throw in my face. It doesn’t change the fact that the USA is #1 in the world. Finland may rank first in education. And technically speaking, the Netherlands’ first place ranking in broadband access just nudges out our 23rd place finish. But in many other categories, the USA is Numero Uno. For example, America ranks …
- 1st in guns per capita
- 1st in cocaine seizures
- 1st in obesity
- 1st in percentage of the population that’s incarcerated
- 2nd in carbon emissions – but we’re coming after you, China! So watch your back!
America is the birthplace of technological innovation. Think of some of the greatest inventions of the 1800s: the battery, gas lighting, the steam-powered locomotive, the electromagnet, aspirin, and the hot air balloon. Um, okay, I was just informed that none of these were invented by Americans. I guess I picked the wrong century to make my point. Should have gone with the 15th.
But America is the birthplace of incredible innovations that have changed the way we live. For starters, there’s cheese crust pizza, microwave popcorn, pop tarts, and Groupon. In 1958, an American invented the hula hoop – still used some 50 years later by nine-year old girls and 40-year old men who have not had a date in over a decade.
In 1960, America brought the world the Etch A Sketch, which eventually led to the invention of the world’s first computer in World War II. Um, I have just been informed that the Etch A Sketch was actually invented by a Frenchman named André Cassagnes. Okay, that may be, but it was later manufactured in Byran, Ohio, which I’m reasonably certain is in the USA.
It does not change my point, however, which is that America is God’s gift to the world. Our forefathers who invented America (our five fathers if you include Alexander Hamilton) would be beaming with pride about how the USA has kicked England’s butt since we said, “Adios, amigos!” back in 1776. Could they possibly have foreseen a golden age of television featuring shows like Duck Dynasty and Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Probably not. I think Jefferson and Adams were probably more likely Dukes of Hazzard guys. Let’s face it. Which would you rather watch – an American TV show like NCIS or that hit Russian show Exciting Dessert Recipes with Cabbage?
If you’re still not convinced that America is better than any other country, let’s just compare sports viewing options. In America, we get to watch NASCAR, college football and Wipeout. In Switzerland, your only legal option is badminton. Or you could move to Canada, where they feature 24/7 coverage of middle-aged men sweeping ice with brooms. Or perhaps you’d enjoy living in Scotland, where all they do all summer long is play golf by day and hang out in pubs by night, playing darts and getting rip-roaring drunk. Okay, I’ll admit, Scotland is starting to sound pretty good to me, too.
But no nation beats America for national parks. Where else in the world can you go and stare at a giant slab of rock with likenesses of Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson and Lincoln carved into it? You’ll never see those faces on any mountain in Spain, that’s for sure. We have more national parks than any other country. And I plan to visit one of them someday, just as soon as I’m done playing World of Warcraft against some dude in Scranton named Roger whom I’ve never met.
America is also the most diverse nation on earth. Most people living in Norway were born and raised in Norway. Most people living in Afghanistan were born and raised in – and trying to escape from – Afghanistan. But the USA is a melting pot. It does not matter what your skin color is or what your religious beliefs or your ethnic origin are. We can all come together, united in a common belief – that the mess we’re in is the government’s fault.
So this Fourth of July, pull up that Adirondack chair you bought at Ikea (a Swedish manufacturer), light up your BBQ grill (made in Taiwan), enjoy some Mexican nachos with salsa, grab a six-pack of your favorite Irish Guinness beer, and set off your Chinese-made fireworks. Take pride in the fact that you live in the greatest nation on earth – not to mention one of the happiest (#19th to be exact, just 18 spots behind Paraguay).
God bless America.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015