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Is America The Greatest Country Ever?

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flagWe were driving around town at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend and started to notice how few American flags we saw on the front porches of homes in the various neighborhoods.

So we immediately went to Ace Hardware to buy a new bracket for our flag and went home to put it up about 30 minutes later. We were embarrassed that we had not put the flag holder on our home earlier.

We’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt and give everyone at least until Monday to get their flags out to honor our men and women who have served in our nation’s military throughout history.

Roughly 1.36 million soldiers have died in combat since the Revolutionary War started in 1775, half of whom died from disease or complications from wounds suffered in battle or from unsanitary medical attention after battle.

Close to half of those soldiers died fighting the Civil War on both sides. More soldiers died in the Civil War than in all other wars America has fought combined. Think about that for a moment.

1.36 million soldiers dying in battle or from wounds after the battle sounds like a lot until you consider that roughly 545 million Americans have lived in the United States over those 240 years. (Odd fact: over 1/2 of the number of people who have ever lived in the United States of America are now currently still living)

0.25% of the entire population of Americans who have ever lived in this nation have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms, notably of which is the freedom of speech for us to say whatever we want about our government, elected leaders, military, teachers, economy and religious beliefs both good, bad and indifferent.

We owe every service person, not only those who died but those who survived as well an enormous debt of gratitude not only this Memorial Day weekend but every day of our lives. Shake a hand of a serviceman or woman when you see one in an airport or buy them a cup of coffee if you see them in a Starbucks and tell them how much you appreciate their service and sacrifice for the rest of us. They always smile and say they appreciate it very much.

All this got us to thinking about the negative comments made about America from many sources lately, much of which seems to stem from this current White House for some reason.

We have been waiting patiently now for 6 years to see President Obama break out the champagne, wave the flag high and wide and extol the virtues of America in a speech or at some commemoration or other in a way that makes everyone burst with pride to be an American.

Maybe not quite like Ronald Reagan, George Bush 41 or 43 did with country music singing and all that but at least enthusiastically waving an American flag or something. We did a brief Google search to find ANY picture of President Obama waving even a teeny tiny American flag at a baseball game on the Fourth of July or something and we could not even find a picture of him waving an American flag anywhere of any size for the past 6 years. Isn’t that more than a little weird that the President of our United States can’t be found in one single photo during a cursory Google search waving an American flag?

Type in ‘President Obama waving the American Flag’ and see if you can find a picture of our President waving an American flag of any size at at any event while President. Sort of really odd, isn’t it?

Maybe we have missed his flag-waving but we haven’t missed many of his proclamations about America. While respectful, his speeches about America always seem to be moderated with some jab at successful business people or Christians or free enterprise or capitalism or some aspect of American life that he just does not seem to like for some reason or another. A President of the United States of America should at least be our Head Cheerleader-in-Chief, shouldn’t he?

With that in mind, we thought we would ask this provocative question to ponder this Memorial Day:

‘Is America the greatest nation to live in ever in recorded history?’

Let’s take a brief look at some of the things we can be thankful for about living in the American Democratic Republic and see if we can’t all be flag-waving patriots this Memorial Day:

(1) Name any other country in world history where free enterprise, free speech, freedom to worship and freedom to assemble has combined to pull as many people out of poverty and into standards of living most other countries can only dream about.

Hundreds of millions of Americans over the last 240 years have literally either pulled themselves up by their bootstraps or had their bootstraps pulled up for them by the free enterprise system. Tradesmen who once used to work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day in back-breaking work were able to move up the economic scale by adopting new technologies and machinery to make better products at lower costs which led to better lives for them and their children.

The number of Americans who have been able to pull themselves up the economic ladder far exceeds the number of people who have been relegated to a life of dependency on government programs. We do far better as a nation when we can brag about how many people are now working instead of counting the increasing number of families who have to live on food stamps, for example. A person does not climb the economic or social ladder of success by relying solely on government assistance. They do it by work and taking advantage of educational and tutoring, mentoring, coaching and apprenticeship opportunities when they present themselves.

(2) Name any other conquering nation or empire in history that regularly went into other nations, help them repel and extinguish the worst invaders anyone could ever imagine…and who then left on their own accord back to their home country.

We have asked dozens if not hundreds of historians or people interested in history this question and so far, no one can come up with one example of any other nation or empire which has gone into other countries on a regular basis to help them win their freedom and left of their own accord.

Rome didn’t do it. If you saw the Roman legion coming into your neck of the woods in Gaul or Egypt, you could hang your sovereignty and independence up on a clothesline because your days as a free nation were soon going to be over.

Same with the British Empire. The Ottoman Empire. The Visigoths. Alexander the Great. The Chinese Dynasties. The Assyrians. The Persians. The Turks. The Mongols. The Spanish. The Dutch. The Portuguese. The Soviet Union. Germany under Hitler and the Kaiser before him. Japan under Hirohito. Iraq under ISIS.

None of them went into a nation to help set them free…and then left of their own accord. If they were forced to leave, it is because someone else pushed them out as they came in to occupy the country for themselves.

The historical trend over millennia has been for a conquering nation to stay in the host country and keep them subjugated and conquered so they could access their natural resources and squeeze every ounce of tax revenue and tribute out of the working people of the land.

The United States stands alone as an exporter of freedom and democracy the world over. Could the United States have stayed in Europe after World War I and especially after World War II and basically annexed all of the nations America had set free from the scourge of the Kaiser and later Hitler? Could the US have stayed in Japan and treated them as a protectorate of the United States after World War II? How about after Korea in 1953? Could the US have stayed in power there and run the nation for as long as we could possibly want?

Instead, we provided military protection while we lent them money and expertise to rebuild their nations. Germany, Japan and Korea are economic powerhouses in the 21st century almost solely because of American loans, government foreign aid and assistance, Marshall Plans and the freedom to build a new nation under democratic principles and free enterprise and capitalism.

Somewhere along down the line of history, some future historian is going to uncover the history of America from some dusty archive buried under the sands of time and is going to think he has discovered a mutant form of human life. ‘No one else in history would have ever entered another nation and helped them defeat a common enemy and then left to go back home!’ he would write. ‘The United States of America must have been the figment of some dreamers’ imaginations!’

Which it was when you think about what the Founders wanted to do at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.

(3) If you want a pretty good gauge of how great it is to live in America versus almost every other country on Earth, consider this: Even a disturbed individual such as Lee Harvey Oswald, who hated America with a passion, defected to the Soviet Union so he could join his ‘happy’ (sic) comrades in communism only to find out communism was not all that it was cracked up to be (it was miserable even according to Oswald). Life in the Soviet Union was so bad that even an American hater such as Oswald begged to be allowed to come back to the United States shortly before he assassinated President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

What a mistake that turned out to be, yes?

Many other nations around the globe are deliberately and systematically homogeneous in terms of race and religious belief which tends to make it ‘easier’ for them maintain the sense of order and control they desire for their country. Japan is mostly made up of Japanese people; China is made up of mostly Chinese people. Finland is 93.5% Finnish for goodness sakes! There are only 1500 Jews living in Finland today out of a population of over 5 million people.

You like freedom and diversity and inclusion and assimilation? Welcome to America! You are gonna get all of those here in far higher proportions than any other country on Earth.

1989 Tank Guy in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China

1989 Tank Guy in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China

(4) Finally, if you want to see how great other nations are when it comes to allowing dissent or┬áprotests and being ‘free to express yourself’ as we do in America, ask the young man in Tiananmen Square in Beijing who stood in the way of a long line of Chinese tanks in the summer of 1989.

If he is still alive, that is.

Ask the millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of people over 19th and 20th century history, in Russia and China or Uganda or Rwanda or Cambodia who were purged by their dictator leaders for their dissident views, namely their opposition to the dictators in control if they thought their countries were ‘the greatest ever’ in the history of the world.

Ask the gay people in strict Muslim countries who have been killed because of their sexual orientation if they think living under Ayatollahs and ISIS and Al Qaeda psychopaths was all that great before they were put to death solely because they were gay.

There are hundreds of millions of women all over the world who are abused and mistreated by men and powers-that-be in their countries who would literally give everything they owned to live in the United States for one minute of their lives, much less have the chance to go to school, college, become a lawyer, doctor or businesswoman or simply to marry the man of their choice and raise a family on their own.

We don’t have any idea if living in the ‘Glory of Rome!’ was all that is was cracked up to be in the movies or in the glorified history books. We think living in Rome or in ancient Athens in the glory days of the rise of philosophy and the arts in Greece must have been a great experience, assuming you were a wealthy male of appropriate birth and standing in the community, that is, and not a slave or a women or a foreigner or outsider for some reason.

America has warts and foibles today, there is no questioning that. We are not a perfect utopia and we do not live in a state of nirvana, that is for sure. America has made many mistakes and created many problems over the years here and abroad either intentionally or not. Many of which we are now trying to figure out and put back into Pandora’s Box if we can before it is too late.

However, we think any reasonable person can take an objective and fair long-term look at the balance scales of history and the positive impact America has made in the course of human endeavor in life on this planet, and have to conclude that living in America is far better than not living in America for the past 240 years.

If not, why do so many people still want to come here to live?

You still have time to go get an American flag today and put it on a post in your front yard high for everyone to see. America still has a lot going for it, contrary to what you may see and hear on the nightly news every day.

Namely you and others who care enough about it to do something to preserve it for our future.

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