I started this blog two years ago, just thinking “I want my children to have something to remember me by.” I never thought it would go beyond that. Today, I see that 78 people are following my blog, and folks in 55 different countries have viewed it. Wow! Is that what we had hoped the Internet would provide? Strangely enough, though I live in Spokane, Washington, the most views have been in Indonesia! Of all these 640 posts, I’ve only had angry replies to one of them, from someone in Canada, and the post wasn’t even about Canada. The subject was things I like about my country. This reader’s hatred of the United States, and a citizenry that elected Donald Trump President, was palpable and unreasoning. The few questions I asked in reply were met with scorn, more wrath, and were not even addressed.
I wasn’t even being satirical or sarcastic, but my reader was so uninformed that I think his anger was a response to the frustration of not knowing how to debate rationally. I can’t accuse him or her (I never asked) of being a Democrat, unless one migrated to Canada. Still, the beauty of blogging is being able to dialogue with people everywhere. I have replied to blogs written in China, Egypt and Indonesia, as well as Canada, Britain and of course, here in the United States. To celebrate my 640th post, once again I am going to love on my country. If you hate that, all you have to do is read The NY Times or WaPo, or watch CNN or MSNBC, or go to websites like Slate, Politico, RawStory or Vice, and your need to hate on your country will be sated. Here goes, more things I love about America:
College football, and College Gameday: Every Saturday morning from 6am to 9am PST, I watch College Gameday on ESPN. I love the energy on the college campuses they visit. Some college towns are big cities, like Seattle (U of Wa.) or Los Angeles (USC and UCLA), and already well known. Some college towns are absolutely tiny, like Brookings, South Dakota, population 22,056, home of South Dakota State U. Regardless, when College Gameday comes to town, for a few hours it seems like the rancor and division of our society and our politics is set aside, and fans of the college, and even fans of the visiting team, are all sharing food at tailgate parties. I may betray my ignorance, but that seems to me to be a uniquely American experience. The hospitality of college football is like the hospitality of a church potluck writ large. Non Americans think our football is too rough, and prefer soccer, but guess what Europeans and South Americans, we don’t have soccer hooligans here (though Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia was the only stadium in the country with it’s own jail—but that’s Philly, “City of Brotherly Love.”)
I love the variety of America. Even in my midsized town of Spokane, I can shop for food at a two national chains—Trader Joe’s and Safeway—two regional chains—Yokes and Rosausers—three organic stores—My Fresh Basket, Natural Grocers, Food Co-op—or three Asian markets within a 10 minute drive! And their shelves are never empty. This is free enterprise in action, you socialist idiots (Rush Limbaugh calls them “young skulls full of mush”). It isn’t uniquely American, I’m sure it’s the same in Canada. But free enterprise as we know it, wherever it thrives, can thank the United States for modeling and defending it. Oh yeah, about that income inequality. Free enterprise means that whomever, or whatever business fills the desires of the most customers, will prosper, which of course automatically leads to income inequality. So what? Your alternative, Socialism or Communism, merely guarantees equal misery. But not really. The gap between the ruling class under those systems and everyone else is many times worse than in the United States.
But what about people like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, or the stockholders of Apple, Google and Microsoft? Look how rich they are. Why are they so rich? Because the value of the stock they own is so high. Why is it so high? Because millions of people want the stock, thus bidding the price up. Duh! Enough said. Why is Walmart the biggest retailer in the world? Because they have the most shoppers. Why? Because they have the lowest prices. Duh! Another thing I love about America, is that when I don’t feel like preparing dinner, and don’t like “fast food” restaurants, I still have ample choices close by. I mentioned that Spokane is a mid-sized city, but even here, within walking distance of my abode, I can choose from Thai, Mexican, Italian, Pizza, Chinese, gourmet Northwest and vegetarian restaurants, not counting the fast food outlets. If only we had a Chick Fil-A, I’d be happier.
Perhaps most important, is healthcare. Our system is far from perfect, but consider this: I am on a Medicare Advantage policy. On October 4, I was diagnosed with Merkel Cell Carcinoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer. I saw a cancer surgeon October 11, had surgery on the 17th. The biopsies showed some cells got away from the wound site, so I had a brain MRI and a PET scan on the 31st, I see the oncologist on November 6 to go over the scans. So far all that has cost me co-pays of $315. There is probably no country in the world that I could have had all that done so rapidly.
BUT WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT AMERICA IS…..
From an article by Kerry MacDonald in FEE.com (Foundation for Economic Education): “Walking through Times Square, the phrase that kept popping into my head was: spontaneous order. Here were thousands of people in a few square blocks, all peacefully pursuing their own interests in an environment of voluntary association and exchange. Some people might have been in search of Italian food, others Mexican. Some visitors may have been shopping for shoes, or pocketbooks, or travel memorabilia, while others were interested in the street performers and musicians. Some arrived by taxi, others by subway, and still others by foot or bicycle. Some were there to sell, others were there to buy.
“There were countless reasons all of those people were in Times Square, but they came as a result of their own distinct interests, taking advantage of a panoply of dining, shopping, and artistic vendors, without any central planner coordinating their activities. It is an extraordinary example of the power of the marketplace to spontaneously facilitate peaceful, voluntary exchange for highly diverse individuals with many different interests and needs.”