Monday, August 4, 2014

6 Things to Love about The U.S.A!

   I've been outside of the United states for about 3 years altogether now and regardless of where my life takes me, America will always be my home.  The ways of thinking I originally accepted as natural have evolved and my experiences abroad have indubitably affected my own views on life in general. I'm a firm believer in the notion that you must extricate yourself from a situation to be able to see it clearly. Since being outside of the United States I've gained a certain appreciation for the things the homeland does right. Here is my list of things I can always count on the good ol' US of A for! Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section!

#6 Wide Open Spaces

I know, I know ... There are lots of open spaces around the globe. Yet, after living in Japan and Korea I've really begun to appreciate just how much open space there is back home. Not only is it open space but it's filled with absolutely stunning scenery! From the open deserts of Nevada, to the great forests of California and the natural beauty of Montana/Colorado/Idaho (Just to name a few of my personal favorites!). There are plenty of places to explore, space to enjoy recreational functions (so much room for activities!) or contemplate the vastness of the universe while looking at a trillion stars shining down on you. America the beautiful is no understatement.

Don't forget the National Parks and protected areas either! The good ol' U.S. has 1/10 of the protected land in the world! With over 6,700 protected areas (approx. 1 million square miles!)  we can hope that citizens of the future will be able to enjoy these places and the beautiful creatures that inhabit them!

#5 Car Culture

There comes a time in a man/woman's life when you just want to drive. Does America have the autobahn ... no. But, we do have a lot of roads, a lot of horsepower and a transportation system based on our 4 wheeled traveling machines. Cars from all over the globe can be seen cruising the highways and byways of this great land. In fact, America ranks third in most motor vehicles per capita and second in automobile production.(#1 being China). With so much space and so many cars it's not a mystery why America loves cars.

#4 Food

As most of you fine folks out there already know the good ol' USA is jam packed with delicious eats. From bowel shattering fast-food to luxurious and supple 5 course dinners are abundant. If you're a foodie this is a country you can't miss. Food from the across the globe can be found in any major city. Heck, even in the deserts of Nevada you can find a decent sushi joint (though I'm always a bit nervous indulging in sea food so far from the sea). Also, the portion sizes are massive! I recall the first time coming home back and gazing feverishly at the monstrosity of a burger in front of me and wondering if we were all sharing it. One fun fact is that the state of Montana has 3 times as many cows as people! (Just the thought of BBQ ribs, a thick juicy (reasonably priced) steak and beef jerky is making me drool).

Of course the abundance of tasty grub does have a dark side  According to a 2010 World Health Organization report 1/3 of Americans are Obese; making the USA the 2nd "fattest" country in the world. Food so good you just can't help but eat more! Hungry? Why wait? Head on over to America!

#3 Entertainment

Try as they might the world simply can't compare to the machine that is American Media. From Music to TV shows, to blockbuster movies America is king (or democratically elected president if the K word makes you shudder). Even video games have taken their place on the global radar (entertainment software stats). According to Statista The American entertainment industry brought in over $522,000,000,000 ($522 Billion) in 2013 and is primed to bring in more in the upcoming years! America didn't take home the most films made award (Bollywood is singing and dancing all over that one!) but you can always count on America to deliver at least one great film/TV show/Mega-hit album/shitty reality show that somehow becomes popular a year.

With all the quality media available it's now wonder we spend so much time watching TV (including shows on Netflix and our favorites recorded on DVR). For now America reigns supreme and we can all agree that we're happy J.Biebs is Canadian. Lets not forget the entertainment Walmart has brought us either!

#2 Diversity

As a nation primarily of immigrants (past and present) the range of people, ideas, religions and ethnic backgrounds is wide. Although it isn't nearly as diverse as Africa or Europe (or Canada) The salad bowl (or melting pot depending on your disposition) is apparent from the moment you step off of the plane. Of course not everywhere you travel will be diverse but it's a lovely change from the homogeneous societies I've had the pleasure of living or visiting. With so many different types of folks it's no surprise our political arena can sometimes become a royal rumble. Politics aside, America has come along way from its origins and people of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexual orientations and creeds have finally begun to see their rights as humans established. It wasn't so long ago that people couldn't even vote due to the color of their skin or their chromosomes. Now, we march ever forward into the future bringing every persons god given right to the light of day. It's the diversity of our country (in every meaning of the word) that allows us push on, to march unwavering for what we believe is right and just until we come to a conclusion. We're still learning, but for a young country growing pains are unavoidable. Let hope our diversity leads us in a positive direction.

#1 The American Dream

When talking with American folks I often here, "there is no American dream any more!" Well, I'm here to ask you to rethink that idea. Perhaps the notion of what the American dream is has to be retooled but it's still very much alive. In the past it this dream was owning a big house with a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, a nice car in the drive way and a job with a livable wage. Now, in the wake of economic crises' many folks have found themselves wondering what the fox kind of pipe dream is that?!

 Even now there is a lot of hurting people out there. It's difficult to know so many good-hearted, hardworking folks can't find a job, or are being kicked out of their houses or can't pay medical bills. Despite all of these trials there is one thing I haven't seen falter in the people of America, Hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams. Perhaps they will or maybe they wont but the fact that hope is alive (in themselves or their children/family) despite being surrounded by woe is a testament to our fortitude.

It's out of this hope that (I truly hope) we can refashion the American dream for the 21st century. A dream that will propel us into the future on a positive note. A Dream that we, individually and as a whole, can accomplish anything we put our minds to; No matter how improbable, no matter how small or how big. Though most of all I hope we can rebuild this dream through compassion, hard work and the understanding that no matter how different my neighbor may be from myself we can still work together for the greater good. A dream for an individual, a dream for the populous. Keep hope alive America!


Runners up for my list include the following: Guns, strippers, hunting amazingly well operated and maintained zoo's, sports cults, and freedom fries.

Here's a few responses from Facebook!

Do you agree? Did I miss something spectacular? Please feel free to give your thoughts in the comment box!


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