Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And I'm Proud to Be an American...

I generally spend ten months out of each year bitching and complaining about things in the US then two months of each year in countries that really give me a reason to bitch and complain.  Like all other times when I return to the US (generally from third world countries) the song "I'm Proud to Be an American" rings in my head and I am reminded why living in America isn't as bad as we often think it is...
  • The infrastructure works.  It is usually a given that if you turn on the water it will work.  Ditto for electricity, airports (in general), roads, hospitals, waste treatment, etc.  In many third world countries this is often a crap shoot and running water or electricity that can be depended on is cause for celebration.
  • We have a fairly good welfare safety net.  In many poor countries there is no such thing as welfare, food stamps, emergency housing, mandatory emergency medical care, etc.  If you don't have money you literally don't eat, you sleep on the sidewalk or under a tarp, and you will be left to die on the hospital's door step if you can't pay.
  • There is limited corruption.  Yes there is some corruption and bribery that goes on in the US but it is nothing like the amount of bribery and corruption in other countries where it is a daily occurrence.
  • Processes are generally efficient and effective.  Not always of course, but in many third world countries something as simple as using a credit card, buying an appliance, getting through the airport, or navigating the process for starting a business is one giant clusterf#&*.
  • Laws are enforced and generally fair for all.  In countries with high rates of corruption and poverty, there is one set of rules for the rich and another for the poor and many laws aren't enforced at all.
  • We enjoy a level of safety that is unknown in most third world countries.  In the US it is a fair bet that the water coming out of your tap won't poison you.  Ditto for food from grocery stores and restaurants and medicines from the pharmacy.  You can turn on the power and not get electrocuted or burn down your neighborhood, use transportation in a way that will more often than not get you safely to your destination, and generally expect to work in an environment that won't kill you.
  • Even though the US economy is in the tank, the ability to prosper is there for everyone to take advantage of no matter your race, economic status, family, looks, etc. This isn't always true in countries where nepotism in the rule rather than the exception and/or economic opportunities are few and far between.
  • I get to pay taxes.  It seems that many people (myself included) tend to complain about paying taxes but I have seen how countries where many people don't pay taxes (and/or the tax money gets siphoned off by the leadership) results in nothing getting done (roads aren't paved, water systems aren't built, minimal welfare programs aren't funded, etc)
  • You can live anywhere.  Some countries are all tropical or all desert or all mountainous or all flat or all grassland or...you get the idea.  The US has an amazing array of places to live that should suit anyone's needs.
The bottom line is that I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.  It is a good idea for everyone to travel to foreign countries (especially of the third world variety) on occasion in order to give yourself something to compare your current situation against.  I would bet that things in the US won't seem so bad after that trip.


  1. Great point. I've traveled overseas as well and you're absolutely right. And while I'm not content with the US government as it functions now, I do agree that it's far better than what I've seen elsewhere.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  2. AMEN! I haven't been to any third-world countries yet, but with the travel I do, I have the same sentiment.

  3. give it up!

    1, 2, max 3 comments?

    Arent you wasting your time?

    your post are a repeat of many other sites..

    You're wasting energy and luring people like me into your site, only to be disappointed.

    GIVE IT UP .

    I'll bet you wont tell the old lady about this comment.

  4. Well, If you think America is so great,what are you doing abroad? Better yet what the U.S. doing abroad?.

    every one i have knowledge of love sooo much the U.S. Now that youre there ask how much the U. S. is loved.

    Great post today. You make me....well kind of tears came to my eyes could be happiness (lughter)or sadness (b.s.)

    Youre great keep posting, maybe you'll get 5 comment one of this day.

  5. seriously thanks for reminding me of the good things in America that we have to be thankful of. At times I even find myself taking it all for granted.

  6. Agreed! I would like to add one point about security:

    Accessible firearms, ammunition and concealed carry permits in the US allow people to defend themselves with similar technology that criminals use.

    I spent 6 months in Central America and saw first hand that families and individuals were defenseless against thugs with firearms.

  7. Don't forget these:

    A sound monetary system and money that works. Despite the reindeer games of the Federal Reserve and the stimulus and QE2 shenanigans, it's a given that when you go to a bank, the biggest crisis you aer likely to encounter is a broken ATM or long lines on payday. In poorer countries, it's not uncommon to see inflation to the point where you need big wads of large bills to buy a loaf of bread, banks that suddenly and mysteriously close, having your bank account suddenly and mysteriously disappear, being unable to cash a check because the bank is out of money, and limited or no acceptance of credit or debit cards, which means that you need to cart said big wads of big bills around when you shop, making you vulnerable to robbery.

    People are generally upbeat and hopeful about the future. It's generally the rule that young, healthy people can expect to see their kids grow up and have kids, retire, go on vacation, etc. In the third world, parents can expect to bury at least one kid and few live to be older than 60. Those that do continue to work until they drop or often raise their grandkids after their parents die.