Forget the news. With Memorial Day upon us this weekend and us planning a nice vacation, tell us what America means to you? What makes America great in your humble opinion? Why is America worth fighting for?
Well, for one thing, we have a constitutional form of government which allows us to throw out the trash at the White House every four years. That selfsame Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the rule of law make America great and worth fighting for. They also allow us to correct our big mistakes without resort to violence (November, 2012, hint hint).
As an off-topic moment, I just saw this and it ticks me off: LINK. Some jerk (Republican of course) wants to force everyone to leave their name, IP address and home address on any comments they make on the internet. F-you, jerk!More to the point, this is trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. He is trying to make it so that a web administrator can delete all anonymous comments that don't include this information. Uh... we can already do that if we want to you f**ing dipsh*t. Someone please savagely beat this idiot.Between this, SOPA and that idiot in Hawaii who wants to make the posting of comments she doesn't like on the internet "stalking," the Republicans seem determined to wage a war against the internet and sanity. I find that disgraceful.
First of all, let me say that it's Fleet Week in NYC. It is always a thrill to see the big ships parade up the Hudson and this year I saw a beautiful flyover of the Blue Angels in formation! That was thrilling and eerily silent! And for you history buffs, during Fleet Week, the US Navy will be commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the start of the War of 1812.
Bev, That's like cool. What year did that war start?
Lawhawk, I second your hint! :)
Bev, That must be really neat to watch. We had the Thunderbirds the other day because the Air Force Academy had their graduation this week. That's always neat to watch.(P.S. The guy in the article above is from the NY Senate. Good grief.)
Hi Skooler, Get a job.
Andrew - O'Mara is an idiot. But I will suggest that they revise the Bill so that it is only O'Mara's name, address, and IP address that must be attached to any post or comment on the internet. That works for me.
Dear Hi Skooler: I am so glad you asked. But what kind of teacher would I be if I gave you the answer? Please look it up and get back to us with your answer in the form of a 250 character Tweet accompanied by a 10,000 word essay on "Why I Need To Stay In School". You have 24 hours starting....now.
Bev, That works for me. I could get behind that kind of bill.I have no idea what he's thinking. For one thing, what administrator can't delete anonymous comments if they want to? And websites can already get IP addresses if they are so inclined. For another, what business is it of his? If people allow anonymous comments, which are easy to ban, then why should we force them to collect this information? Third, how do you get around people who post through anonymous proxies? Fourth, how do you make sure people aren't lying about their names and home addresses and how does this stop me from posting at McDonalds or an internet cafe to get around this stupidity?This guy is a total fool with ZERO knowledge of how the net works.
What Lawhawk said.Speaking of jets - we try to go to Oceana in Virginia Beach every year for the Neptune Festival to see the Blue Angels. We never get tired of it.
TJ, That sounds like a good time. I think their level of skill is fantastic!I'm not familiar with the Neptune Festival?
As for Fleet Week, I love seeing all those cute sailors and Marines in their dress whites running around. But, funny, they seem to get younger and younger every year...hmmm.
Bev, That's keeps happening to me too, everyone else seems to keep getting younger. It must be a virus or something?
I think what makes America great is the sense that everyone is free to go their own way. What better way to build a society than to let people be free to live their own lives as they wish?
Bev, I understand they're recruiting younger every year. ;)
DUQ, I've noticed that too, especially whenever I drive by the local high school. There is no way I looked like that when I was in high school -- these kids look like grade schoolers. Yikes!I agree with you about American greatness. Sadly, that's also the thing most under threat right now with the left determined to end personal freedom in the name of saving us all from ourselves.
I'm with Bev, everyone else is getting too young.
What makes America great? Her people. I love Americans. We're inventive, charitable, kind and friendly. Not all of us, but more than enough to make a difference. The world would be a much uglier place without Americans.
Andrew, it's a festival they have every year in September in Virginia Beach. They actually pick someone from the community that has done a lot for Va Beach and crown him King Neptune. He is joined by his court of Tritons (other men from the community) and Neptune Princesses (girls in their junior year of high school). All these people become ambassadors for the city throughout the year. There are events throughout the year, but the actual boardwalk weekend is in September - they have sandcastle building contests, live performances and various other things going on all throughout the weekend. This will be the 39th year.We have never actually participated in any of the events except the air show at Oceana. It's always a great time for us.
Ellen, I agree with that too. I've been in many countries and while I've found nice people all over the world, Americans really stand out. And it amazes me how fast Americans are to volunteer to help others or to take care of problems themselves. :)
TJ, It sounds like a fun weekend. I've always enjoyed festivals. And air shows are fantastic!
For me, it starts with our system of government. A constitutional republic in which our founding fathers had the wisdom to limit what the government could do. We all know the quote: "a government powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take it all away."I recognize that I was lucky enough to be born to parents were reasonably well off and supportive of me. I was able to pursue the American dream and provide very nicely for my family. Do I realize I had advantages not afforded to everyone? Absolutely, but I was the guy who worked my butt off and made the most of my opportunities. Who you are may open a few doors, but I can tell you with certainty it rarely will keep you in a good place unless you deliver something of value. To that end, I truly believe free market capitalism is the best system for giving the most people the highest standard of living. If we are in danger of losing that, it is that too many believe they are owed, entitled so to speak to virtually everything. If we are in danger of losing that, it was because we evolved into a horrible education system that is all about "self-esteem" instead of hard work and achievement. We must get back to teaching our kids schools that will permit them to deserve higher wages, not get them as a matter of "fairness."But as we head into Memorial Day, my hat goes off to those who gave the last full measure of devotion to our country. Take a listen to "Remembrance Day" which is what the British call it. Remarkably poignant.
The link below is a series of charts of how many men and women have served in the our Armed Forces since the Revolutionary War through today. It is mind boggling. One interesting statistic - until WWII we lost more soldiers/sailors to "other causes" like disease than in battle.http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/american%20war%20casualty.htm#t1
Jed, It does start from our form of government and the understanding that this is a government of consent rather than a power unto itself dictating to us.And I agree completely that in America, everybody has a chance. Sure, some people start out ahead and some people will succeed despite a total lack of real talent. But none of that matters. What matters is that anyone who is willing to work hard and take risk can succeed and build their own futures.And yeah, we are in danger of losing that because the left has been pushing this idea of trading freedom for safety.
Bev, I've seen the numbers before. It's mind-boggling.Here is the link: LINK
Bev, According to the Department of Defense in 2009, 41,891,368 of our fellow citizens have served our country, 1,190,109 of those died in that service.
America rocks. Home of the brave, land of the free!
Nightcrawler, As Kurt Russell said in Big Trouble in Little China, with an assist from Dennis Dunn:"Here's to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to America's colors, the colors that never run. May the wings of liberty never lose a feather."
I love America's beautiful and unique history: conceived in Liberty, birthed in Freedom, raised on Promises and grown in Prosperity. It's not a perfect history. From the beginning, undercurrents of Strife have on occasion broken out into bloodshed. And the success of our little experiment has earned us covetous and sometimes belligerent enemies. Yet in spite of it all, I feel America's darkest days are upon it now. That glorious history which has survived wars and civil wars, disasters and depressions, and has emerged to produce some of the greatest achievements mankind has ever known, even unto setting human footprints into the dust of the moon, is now threatened not by calamity or destruction, but rather a creeping sickness that threatens to take this once shining city on the hill and slip it silently into obscurity among all the other failed or floundering states whose names are all but forgotten. Such an end, if it were to come, would hardly befit such a nation as this one. Give me fire! Give me brimstone! But never, never so much as offer me a silent, gentle passing. America is worth saving if only for the chance of a fitting and proper end.
tryanmax, You are feeling gloomy these days aren't you?I actually think America's darkest days are behind behind us (Bush/Obama 2004-2010). These two tried to hand America over to an elite who were determined to remake the country as a kleptocracy and rape the taxpayers. But the public has woken up in the form of the Tea Party and is unwilling to let this continue. The Tea Party people haven't won yet, but they are relentlessly winning ground every day, they cannot be bought, and they are determined to break the abusive tool of government and return the country to the people.Once again, America rises up to meet the challenges of its worst enemies -- foreign or domestic.
It’s real simple, America doesn’t suck. This is why it’s so hard to turn us away from the glory that is the USA. In our Founders brilliance, they set up checks and balances, it’s getting time for some balancing, by fixing the mistake of ’08!
Stan, "America doesn't suck." LOL! Short and to the point.And I couldn't agree more about doing a little balancing with extreme prejudice!
I agree with everyone above.
Doc, It's hard to disagree with anything above.
My comment vanished. :(Here it is again:The internet bill anoys me. Republican politicians need to learn how the internet works and they need to learn that they can't control people.
Doc, Sorry about that, it's been happening a lot lately.The bill annoys me too. The Republicans have been very stupid whenever the internet comes up.
That should be the TeaParty slogan "Americs Doesn't Suck" If I had a bumper I would proudly display that slogsn on it!
Bev, Get bigger bumperstickers and put them on the backs of buses and subway trains! :)
Andrew, That's Obama practicing to shut down the internet so people stop talking about how bad he is as president. LOL!
Doc, Strangely, that makes sense. ;)
I still believe that hard work and perseverance pays off in America. There is pride in a job well done.Meantime, I salute our fallen soldiers who have defended the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!
Terry, LOL! I'm sure there have been at least a couple of good liberals who helped make America what it is, right?
CrisD, Well said. I concur. And I think the vast majority of America remains exactly like it always has been -- proud people working hard, even if they aren't the ones that get celebrated by Hollywood or covered by the MSM.I join your salute. :)
Andrew, Liberals yes. Progressives, no.
Terry, Yeah, it's hard to think of too many good progressives. None come to mind really.
Andrew, I'll feel less gloomy when the conservative movement stops eating its own. At the moment it is a little too omnivorous for comfort. It already seems fairly certain that, should Romney take the White House, he won't have full conservative support. "Throw the bums out" mentality is applied to freshmen congressmen at their swearing in. Conservatives as a group don't understand the incrementalism that has been the secret weapon of the left. I will be pleased if Romney and the Republicans just put the brakes on things, but I know most conservatives will want to see the car turn around in the first 100 days. And they'll call it betrayal when it doesn't happen. I'm a little rain cloud. Gloomy-gloomy-gloom-gloom.
tryanmax, I can't argue with that. It's been pretty clear that at least the talking heads are determined that nothing will please them and I have no doubt they'll complain about his failures the moment he takes office.But in the end, I'm not sure this will matter for the Tea Party people who are taking over. They seem to understand that you can't rebuild Rome in a day, or else they wouldn't be slowly working their way up party ranks. And I think they will begin to tune out the people who aren't helping. I can tell you that in my own family I have already heard people say they won't listen to certain radio types anymore.Also, I think conservatives got lucky in Romney because I really don't think he's a moderate. I think he will do conservative things no matter how much the whiners keep whining.
Well that's good to hear (read). Among my own circles, I'm pretty well leading the charge as far as no longer listening to certain radio hosts. I'm pretty much on the third tier (Bill Bennett, Denis Prager) and they actually talk about interesting and different topics. The only exception seems to be Glenn Beck. Lots of people dropped him far before I did, but I think for entirely different reasons.
tryanmax, I was surprised. I've given up on most of them some time ago and only hear them now under protest. But lately, the people I do know who listen have first started questioning whether the hosts were right, then got angry at the hosts, and finally stopped listening regularly or at all.Beck is pretty much a nut, and I think he lost a lot of people when he decided to try the messianic cult thing.
Andrew, No progressives come to mind at all. In fact, they seem to be working against everything this country stands for.tryanmax, Don't be discouraged. There is a lot of progress despite the naysayers and fools. For the first time in a long time I have faith that the Republicans are going to fix things.
Terry, I've strangely got a lot of faith in them as well as the moment.And yeah, progressives suck.
I'm going to avoid the government/democracy route and go with something less tangible. Today, my home region kicked off the "100-Mile Yard Sale," which is exactly what it sounds like. Every Memorial Day weekend, a local highway plays host to hundreds of yard sale booths and thousands of buyers, roaming up and down looking for stuff. I've always thought stuff like that is quintessentially American--people putting these events together on their own without a government permit, selling stuff from roadside stands, mingling with friends and strangers and just enjoying the day. You could never find that kind of thing in a Communist dictatorship, or even in the bureaucratic welfare states of the supposedly free world. Being American means having and defending liberty, not just in a legal sense but in how you live your life.
T-Rav, I agree, it's the little things like that which make America great. The constitution, etc. is a great foundation, but it's the very way Americans live which makes us who we are.For example, Americans are the only people on the planet who aren't satisfied with "good enough." They are always striving to find ways to improve things. They take the initiative to make the world around them better. You honestly don't see that in the rest of the world were people simply accept things as they are and hope the government makes improvements. In America, we do it ourselves.And a thing like your 100-mile sale is a great example where somebody came up with an idea and did it. That is very, very American.
AndrewPlease don't allow this Congressmen to pass this bill. On our planet we don't have names and our address can't be verified as the post office has yet to travel in outer space.This bill will stop us dead in our tracks in preparing for our grand invasion!!!!
Space Aliens, Maybe you could sue?Actually, stopping an alien invasion is probably as realistic a justification for this bill as any other they've given.
America. It's the Freedom. When America is no longer free it will no longer be America. And I don't mean the "prison freedoms" like free health care, free education, free housing, free food. Those are the "freedoms" given to criminals in jails - and yet somehow they remain more interested in living outside than inside.
K, I concur. It's the freedom. Freedom leads to all the rest.Great point -- you can get all those things if you agree to have yourself locked up, yet people who are locked up seem to desperately want out. Interesting, isn't it? I guess being genuinely free is worth more than certain things.
RE military casualties: Table 5 - I find the sharp decrease in "self-inflicted" deaths in 1997 and forward interesting. I wonder if mental health assistance got better in the late 90s?Re American Exceptionalism: I can't imagine claiming any other country as home. The US was the first to truly understand the spirit of humanity: the urge for freedom as well as the corresponding negative urges, and to create a form of government that celebrates the former while limiting the latter. We've managed to mangle it over the years (and currently isn't the first time), but we tend to self-correct to a degree. And, this amazing creation has attracted strong, vibrant people from the beginning - as well as elevating those who are already here. The nature of humanness ensures that there will be deadbeats, but overall (OWS not withstanding) we have fantastic people trying to live their lives as individuals who are a part of an awesome whole. God Bless America![apparently, as counterpoint to tryanmax, I am in an optimistic mood today!]
rlaWTX, Optimism is the way to go! :)I agree 100% on your American Exceptionalism point. Well said!That's interesting about the deaths dropping. I know the military did start working on mental health issues much more carefully in the past couple decades. Perhaps that has paid off?
rlaWTX, I think that's around the time they started treating mental illness.
I think what makes America exceptional is its idealism. It doesn't always live up to the ideals (in the real world that is impossible) but it has them, which is more than many countries can say.European countries tend to confuse amorality with sophistication and many LDCs decline to criticize dictators out of a (misguided IMHO) sense of solidarity.I also believe that our system of government is exceptional. Right now government is gridlocked, but the gridlock is better than what happened before. We have more freedom than most of the world and we've solved most of our disputes more or less peacefully.I've argued with a lot of people from a lot of places about America and race (many seem to get their take on race relations in America from Al Sharpton) but based on what I've observed and experienced from time in England, Pakistan, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica and of course, the good old US of A in modern times, there's no better place to live no matter what color you are.
Anthony, I agree completely. America is very idealistic. We may not be perfect all the time, but at least we aspire to be. I have never found that anywhere else in the world, where people just seem to go with what how it's always been.You're right about race too. Some people want to lock themselves into the Sharpton view and see the country as inherently evil, but that's not really America. America is a place where most people don't care what you are so long as you don't try to tell them how to live.