America, the Blessing

In "America, the Blessing," our friend Kyle-Anne Shiver counts her blessings and reminds us why we should be proud to be Americans.

America, the Blessing
by Kyle-Anne Shiver

I love America.

Since my fourth-grade social studies class, when I first remember being exposed to the customs, mores and governments of other nations, I have never once wanted to have been born anywhere else, to have lived anywhere else or to have called anywhere else my homeland. On the occasions I've traveled outside America, I've kissed her ground upon my return and sworn I would never leave again.

In my youth I loved America with a starry-eyed idealism that could see no fault in her.

In my teens I was sometimes more aware of America's faults and failings than her goodness. When I went to college in 1969, I became quickly immersed in the anti-American, anti-establishment, anti-war rhetoric of my professors, and in a matter of weeks, found myself participating in a student demonstration, burned my bra and donned a black armband in defiance, all without ever understanding how I was being brainwashed to hate my own Country.

But then I got married, and though I continued in college, my rebellion died from neglect due to the additional demands of work and learning how to keep two adults from starving to death in the land of plenty. I simply did not have the time, nor any longer the inclination, to hate or make signs or march or destroy property. Even though I was a boomer through and through, and often could identify with the struggles of my peers, I became disgusted with their unabashed hatred of all things traditional and American. The massive demonstrations with their fawning media coverage began to resemble just one, gigantic collective temper tantrum.

Never would I have believed that a temper tantrum could last as long as it has or envelop nearly-whole succeeding generations of Americans. And it hasn't even stopped at our own shores. This America-hating disease has spread like a brush fire upon the earth.

As American boomers proclaimed, "Our hope is in dope," our current generation has "progressed" to the even more insidious, "Our dope is hope." And so-called intelligent people call this progress.

I might be tempted to laugh if it weren't so dauntingly awful.

What is to become of modern civilization if we Americans throw in the towel on the ideals of liberty and individual dignity, and stop believing that these are worth the suffering required to protect them? How can it be that young Americans do not see the bountiful blessings bestowed upon the rest of the world by us?

Our creative people, free to indulge their unique curiosities, have invented so many life-improving things that it is impossible to catalog them all. While talented inventors have certainly sprung from every other nation, it has been the unique American way of life that inspired making things in such a way and cheaply enough that most of the world's inhabitants could eventually afford them.

Thomas Edison did not invent the incandescent light bulb, but he was intent on fashioning one that could be easily attainable for the vast majority. Edison was the first to conceive of the idea of power plants that would deliver this modern miracle to homes, businesses and factories on a massive scale unknown then to the world. Edison was also the scientific pioneer that designed the first industrial research lab, bringing together the talents of many in search of solutions to the practical problems of common men and women.

Henry Ford was not the inventor of the internal combustion engine or the automobile, but Ford was the man whose greatest desire was to make a car that common people could actually afford to own and operate. Before Ford's assembly-line production innovation, only aristocrats and other wealthy people could afford the luxury.

The American innovations in farming alone have spared millions from miserable lives and deaths because of hunger. The American innovations in science and medicine have made incalculable improvements in the lives of real people all over the world for more than a century.

And certainly at the forefront of America's contributions to world civilization have been the wars fought in defiance of tyranny. Fighting totalitarianism of all stripes has been one of the hallmarks of American existence, and the only land we've claimed as victors was enough to bury our dead. Wars fought by Americans, both at home during the Civil War, and abroad, have unarguably provided the greatest advances in the cause of human rights - ever.

As we allow our Country to be downgraded like some worthless stock in meltdown mode, it might behoove us to just take a few moments glancing back at what we will be leaving behind. No Nation has ever been perfect; none ever will be. But destroying the best one to date without a tested plan for a replacement is nothing more than the work of fools.

As I watch It's a Wonderful Life this year, as is our custom on Thanksgiving Day, I'm going to put America in the place of George Bailey, for we are now at our bleakest hour and see ourselves as Bailey did, as an abject failure without ever having fulfilled our original promise. And just as George Bailey saw what his world would have been like without his simple good deeds and honest striving, so I will imagine a world without there ever having been an America.

As I see this scenario in my mind's eye, I know that I'll once again be joyful in the American experiment's successes and will rejoice at her magnificent contributions to the health, happiness and prosperity for not only ourselves, but in truth, for the whole world.

Happy Thanksgiving, America! You deserve it.

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