I read a post on a friend's facebook today, it was written by a friend of hers. The discussion had to do with his statement that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. He asked me what good flowed from American freedom and said he pitied me if I think I live in freedom here in America (he lives in the UK). He thinks we look at our freedom as all about consumption. It's so much more than that, he could never understand.
I don't know this guy and I wasn't going to get into a pissing contest with him especially since I didn't know him and since it would have been disrespectful on my friend's page. But I can't deny he was pissing me off with his anti-American rhetoric about my "arrogant and misplaced idealism." Rather than possibly get angry enough to say something rude, I told him we had to agree to disagree and move on. Which is of course when he made the arrogant and misguided comment.
I don't deny that the "system" we have here is somewhat flawed. Freedom has its price as does capitalism.We can't live in a utopia, it doesn't exist and it shouldn't exist. Our system can only be as perfect as the human beings creating and running it. Man is fallible and prone to making mistakes and so our system will be imperfect. I accept that.
I choose freedom over oppression or socialism any day of the week and I would rather live in this country than in any other. With all our flaws here, it still beats countries where women are treated as second class citizens, where they are abused, tortured and murdered for being raped or committing adultery or where young girls are forced into marriage at a young age. It still beats living in a nation where the government controls the press. It still beats living in a nation where the secret police can pull you out of your home at any moment and nobody ever sees you again. It still beats living in a nation where the government dictates every single facet of your life and where holy leaders and religious fanatacism is the rule of law. With all our flaws America is still a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world. Why on earth would millions want to move here every year if it weren't so?
Freedom offers opportunity, ingenuity, creativity, prosperity, and hope. Oppression does none of that. It's as simple as that.
There's this assumption by many who live outside America that because we Americans think our country is great, that somehow we dislike people from other nations or think we are better than them. That's not true. I think our system of government is the best in the world, but we're comparing governments not people.There are billions of people on this planet, and so many of them are good and decent people. Living in a free nation does not mean the people of that nation are overall better than the people in any other nation.
I love my country and I cherish my freedom. So long as I do not act in a manner that violates someone else's civil rights (fair enough) I can pretty much do what I want. I'm free to blog my views and opinions without the government arresting me. I'm free to write letters to the editor under my own name without the secret police knocking on my door. I am free to seek an education, major in anything I want, be anything I want, and make as much money as I want. I can vote for any candidate of my choice and I can worship in whatever way I choose.
If being proud to be American and appreciating my freedom and thinking it's all pretty damn GREAT makes me arrogant and misguided, so be it. I'll take it any day over the alternative.