I'm proud to be an American. I can’t stand that song (it gets on my last nerve and annoys the heck out of me), and I'm don't own anything with an American flag on it, but I feel so blessed and privileged to have been born in this country during the time I was born. As a citizen who volunteers, has no problem paying taxes, and votes, I do feel a sense of civic duty and I do like to think that this country is really a great place overall. We have beautiful land, a rich history, and fantastic potential. We’ve had some amazing talent come out of this nation and it just keeps on coming. And yet, as powerful as we are, as beautiful as a country with so many things accomplished, America has plenty of room for improvement.
Many people actually believe we are the most advanced country, the cream of the crop, and that equal rights exist. However, not one president has been female, whereas in other, less developed countries female presidents are not a new thing. Our healthcare system, if you can even call it that, is a joke. The amount of racism that emerged from electing a black president reminds me that it was only in our very recent history that good, significant changes have been made in America. We are ahead in some ways, but we have such a long way to go.
I think about when slavery was abolished (almost one century after we gained our independence), when women received the right to vote (only 10 years before my grandfather was born), desegregation and the black civil rights movements (after my parents were born), equal pay for women (not happening yet), and it all strikes me as crazy. We have been a nation for 236 years, and we’ve come so far, but where are we going next? What is the holdup?
Can we start to reverse the semi-irreparable damage we’ve done to the environment and start taking conservation seriously? Can women finally gain equal rights and start holding more leadership roles comparable to what other countries are already doing? Will we ever have actual maternity leave that’s not a joke? Will healthcare be reformed so that the system is less corrupt? Will the education of our children (this country’s future) finally be a priority and the teaching system improved? Will nurses and teachers ever get the pay they deserve? Will the concept of minorities cease to exist? Will all Native American tribes be federally recognized by the government?
I don’t have the answers to these questions and I don’t know what should be considered as the exact ideal outcomes. There are other issues that I think are completely inappropriate for legislation and it irks me to see Congress and political parties wasting our time and resources on them. I won’t bring them up here, because I want my blog to be as free as controversy as possible. I just want people to start thinking, REALLY thinking, about where we are, how far we’ve come, and what else we need to do. Let’s stop thinking only about ourselves but about the next seven generations, as the Iroquois do. Let’s stop doing things because they pad our wallets, and start doing things because it’s the right thing to do (what a concept). I’m ready for change.
Books to consider reading:
- How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America by Otis Webb Brawley, MD
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn