America. It was always home, and when it becomes the place that you only read about or hear about, it takes on a special, enchanted vibe. A place where there is delicious food from every country in the world, a place where pizza is sold in slices, a place with ice hockey rinks, water parks, and Whole Foods stores. It is a place where English is spoken widely, a place with crowded highways filled with massive cars—not crowded public transit filled with skinny people.
You can find yourself knowing about the bad things, like corrupt government, police incompetence/brutality, complacent obesity, hipster entitlement, or mind-numbing reality TV, and still knowing it’s better to live there than most anywhere else on Earth. Perhaps because America is not perfect, it makes it a great place to live. Its flaws create openings for creativity to fix. American innovation is a strong industry.
Our capitalistic approach to life made wealth possible to anyone, although recently, the wealth has been ending up in the hands of the ruthless, avaricious, scheming power elite. CEO’s salaries have far exceeded the average workers pay for years, until now, finally reaching the point of absurdity. The 2008 financial crisis and ensuing bailouts with bonuses for the top officers of failing companies was the best example of the disproportionate pay scales.
America has its problems. America has shadows of history where sun won’t shine. America has serial killers, bullying, pedophilia, pollution, crime, poverty, and expensive health care. Other countries have problems too, sometimes similar and sometimes distinctive to themselves. Immigrants still come to see who can get the biggest slice of the pie.
All Americans can trace roots to another land. All Americans feel pride for their ancestors’ struggles that led to their current prosperity and for the land that they now call home. All Americans (college students, Occupiers, middle agers and oftentimes myself) need to remember that nothing is given to you, and fighting, striving, aspiring and working for something makes it more your own.