This morning I heard something on the news that made me pause for a moment before I poured my bowl of Captain Crunch (topped with fresh blueberries, my favorite). I heard a report that I reckon emanated from a video produced by the New York Times that the United States is not really a "great" nation. Actually, the opinion piece from the New York Times was titled, "Please stop telling me that America is great." I tend to avoid using the word "America" to describe the United States. After all, Mexico and Canada are also part of "America," North America to be precise. But I know to what people are referring when they say "America," so I don't squabble over that.
What I will squabble over is someone using questionable statistics in order to make the country seem to be not quite as good as it is. I suppose one of the reasons is the desire to feel more "superior" by going out of their way to insult the country so as not to appear to be like those "ultra-patriotic, hayseed redneck conservatives" that tend to populate so much of the countryside that is not New York City. I don't really consider myself "ultra-patriotic." I love my country, but at the same time, I have a great appreciation for other folks and my many friends from around the world from many countries. My friends from other countries have a love for their countries and homes, just as I do; and there's nothing wrong with that.
I will be the first to admit that this country, and especially its government, is far from perfect. I feel that way primarily because we have people running the government. People tend to be a pretty far distance from perfect. But the blueprint that was laid out by a group of really smart guys in the latter part of the 18th century is by far the best blueprint with the greatest potential for success for the greatest number of people of anything that had ever been attempted before, or since. That's my opinion, and anyone is perfectly free to disagree with me. They would be wrong, but still free to do so.
At this time of year, when we remember and recognize what those smart guys back in the late 18th century did, let's not focus so much on the shortcomings of our government and trying to change the government, but let's look at what we can do as individuals to make our towns, our neighborhoods, our own households better. Be nice and kind to people you meet and see on a daily basis. Help clean up the neighborhoods and roadways in our towns and cities. Even better, don't make an unsightly mess of our neighborhoods and roadways to begin with. In short, be a decent human being. I think if everyone would do those little things to make our place a little better, then our nation will automatically get better. It may not be perfect here, but this is home. We're the ones who can make it greater again.