July 4th is here, and if America had a birthday party, I'm afraid lots of nations wouldn't show up and we Americans would be stuck pinning the tail on the donkey all by ourselves. Maybe Canada would show, but Canada's kind of like the kid who eats glue and doesn't mind when we call him Goober. At the same time, good old American patriotism is strangely out of fashion because patriotism now has become flag lapel pins and not true love of country. That all said, there is still SOOOO much to love about being an American. So, as we blow out the candle on our big cupcake with Goober McGee (who gave us a hockey stick), here are a few things worth celebrating that are pretty special about our country.
I'm not a big jazz fan myself, but this is an original American art form worthy of a major shout out. Improvisation. Harmony. Coolness to the millionth degree. The jazz age. NOLA. Louis Armstrong. The evolution into rock and roll. Yeah, jazz is pretty smooth. Way to go, America.
Lots of countries make films. Great films. Few countries make "movies" like we do. Big, fun, escapist films like I want to see this Independence Day weekend. Call me crazy, I love knowing that every July 4th is gonna bring about another Will Smith or Michael Bay mega-blockbuster that is going to entertain the heck out of me even if it won't challenge my brain. In fact, I am really excited to buy a bigass popcorn this weekend and take in a flick.
Barbecue is amazing. Simply amazing. I've always appreciated the power of the grill, but even moreso I've recently become addicted to good, down-home barbecue sauce and eats. There's just something so satisfying about it. It's spicy and sweet and smoky all at the same time...and filling, too! Honestly, the taste combinations are rapturous and overwhelming. So much so that I'm actually strangely craving the week-old leftovers in my fridge. Must...resist...urge...to...reheat...
Our system of government isn't perfect, but at least it's ours. Unlike most any other nation, we designed our nation from the ground up. And considering our relative youth to the rest of the world, I'd say we've been pretty darn successful. This is no small feat, but sometimes I think we take for granted just how unique this continued "experiment" in democracy is - and how successful we've been.
1. The American Dream
Those of us who were born here don't realize it, but the American Dream is still a very real thing for millions of immigrants. Hardworking people who come here and save every penny to help their families here and abroad. American opportunity is a truly unique and profoundly incredible thing. Skeptical? Consider that most of us are only a few generations from immigrants no different than the ones everyone contests about today. Our great grandparents or even grandparents came over on boats, instead of crossing borders, risking their lives to start anew here from Ireland, Russia, German, Italy - and all were met by adversity equal to or perhaps greater than that facing the Mexican immigrants today. Pure hatred and violence. And now, years later, they are part of the fabric of the great American quilt. Call it sappy, if you like. But you can't say that there's anything like realizing the American Dream.