I have no intention to cover the Trump administration specifically on this post, because what I intend to defend is not the United States government. What I’m defending is the country that is the object of a long-standing affair of mine – the United States of America. I mainly want to address an idea which seems to have some traction in the American imagination particularly among modern progressives, and that is the idea that America was never a great nation, and brings nothing but bad things to the world. Nothing could be further be from the truth, and I hope I will adequately demonstrate why without going overboard.
Let’s begin with the event that started it all, the American Revolution. At its heart, the revolution was in essence the act of a people the majority of whom were tired of the burdensome will of a monarch and decided they no longer wanted to be governed by him. And what’s more, while the French revolution ended in yet more autocratic rule for a time and future revolutions would lead to far worse systems being implemented (i.e. communism), the American revolution ended in the establishment of a government in which real tyranny, despite whatever autistic screeching goes on these days, still has yet to occur, and the principles of individual are enshrined in the principles by which the government is established, and it is at least partly through the guidance of these principles that America has progressed.
America has achieved much since then. Over the years America brought to the world the photo camera, pre-natal care, flight, world series’ of sports (in this case, the first world series in baseball), the phonograph (and by extension recorded music), air conditioning, the assembly line (and thus mass manufacturing), the light bulb, the telephone, the tractor, rockets and many other inventions. America also helped shape modern culture. Through the achievements of capitalism and mass production, the American economy boomed owing to a period of greater leisure for Americans. Around the same time, youth culture as we may know recognize it had its beginnings. America was also the father of video games and modern comic books, which by the 21st century have become decisively influential in modern culture. Not to mention, it was in America that jazz, blues, rock and roll, punk (The Ramones, not The Sex Pistols, were first) hip hop and pop as we know it were all born over the years. And during the 80’s, America was one of the leading powers that led the ideological battle against communism, and while the weren’t the first people to lead to the fight against fascism they certainly won. Truly, American culture and invention has been a gift to the world. Oh and for all the complaints I have heard about gender equality from feminists, America was actually the first country to make it illegal to pay someone based on their gender rather than the work they put in through the Equal Pay Act of 1963. America was the father of the Internet, the method of global communication that you and I are using to share a world of information to be accessed at your fingertips, and which continues to revolutionize the media and the world, rapidly outpacing the old media, and until last year America was the guardian of the Internet via its ownership of ICANN.
The most important thing for me about America, however, is simply the ability of ordinary people to say whatever they damn well please, without undue restriction by the law and sometimes unburdened by social norms or courtesy. We Brits may be aghast at the idea that there’s a country where someone like, say, a Westboro Baptist Church member can go on a protest saying “God hates fags” all day, but that is the freedom that America allows: anyone can say what they want, and if you don’t like it you can criticize them publicly. Meanwhile, in my country, not only is there a man who faces jail time over a video of him training his pug to say Nazi slogans as a prank, but you have the police in general spending more time worrying about “Islamophobic hate speech” than actually catching terrorists. For however much is wrong with America, and there are still many things wrong with it, this is the country that its people love and cherish – the freedom to say what you want, without fear, protected by the iron letter of the Constitution.
Happy July 4th everyone, especially my American followers. Keep being the people that you are. I hope that some day I’ll finally set foot in your country once more.