Today is Independence Day in the US. It's never been my favorite "holiday" - I like the fireworks, but not at 2 a.m. in my neighborhood, set off by soon-to-be juvies. I like picnics, but I hate bugs. I'm not a big fan of summer in general so if we would've gained our independence as a nation on, say, October 24, that would be infinitely more fun.
But I do love my country and if it means enduring a sticky summer evening for some explosives, I shall comply.
Why do I love my country? Let me list a few reasons for you:
1. I can say whatever I want, whenever I want, about whomever I want, with no fear of imprisonment or worse (okay, maybe not in a crowded theatre, but if you're going to pull that kind of crap, then you should get what you deserve). I happen to be quite fond of our current president, but did not feel the same about our most recent former president. I spoke of him often in not-so-flattering terms and even now, if his name arises in conversation I still yell out interjections, the likes of which I shall not utter here. I LOVE that I get to do that.
2. I don't have to worship anyone, or I could worship anything. If I wanted to start the Church of the Eternal Dick Clark, I could. I'll bet that there'd be people willing to join, too. Our church would resemble the old American Bandstand set, and of course the highest of the high holidays would be our lord's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Isn't it wonderful that I can do this if I want?
3. My stuff is relatively safe. I never have to worry about John Q. Law entering my house in the middle of the night because they heard I own bootleg DVDs of all 12 seasons of Cheers (I don't, by the way. How totally random would that be?). Ever seen the movie "Reds"? 'Nuff said.
Okay, those reasons aside, I'm now going to rip on our beloved country for a bit. Here are the reasons why I'd rather live in Canada:
1. Insurance. What the hell is it with this country? We are the only developed nation in the world that has problems with middle-class people going bankrupt because they get sick. This is an abomination. I am a firm believer that a healthy country and its inhabitants is a prosperous country. It makes me want to scream that our healthcare system has run so amok. I don't pretend to have any answers, but here's a start - let's cover EVERYONE'S preventive care (kids' immunizations, annual womens' exams and mammograms, prostate exams and colo-rectal exams). I'd be willing to bet that if we did these things, we could catch 50% more cancer and other life-threatening illnesses than we currently do.
2. Immigration. This is a very touchy subject. Yes, illegally entering this country is a problem in some states and those folks shouldn't have the same rights as our natural born citizens or those who willingly took the time to become citizens legally, but certain states are handling this crisis in a not-so-American way. I am very concerned that the States' power in this instance is out of control and the Feds need to step in (yes, I know this is a violation of the 10th Amendment, but....). What a quandary - here you have people who want to enter our country for a better way of life, yet our country is showing them our ugliest side. For shame, Arizona. Oh, and the next time you go to Europe and complain that the folks over there don't speak English, take a good hard look in the mirror and behold the tools you've become.
3. The Religious Right. Egads - here's a group of people I'd like to round up and have them form their own country, one with whom we don't trade or associate. Hypocrites. Bigots. Prejudicial. Ick.
So I guess the reason I love my country so much is somewhat the same reason I wish I could move up North (hey, my dad was half Quebecois; maybe that's an in!). On second thought, I think I'll stay. Besides, all my stuff's here and no one'll search it. :D
*The beautiful photo you see here is courtesy of my very talented photog husby, Brian Kolstad*