4 Things Right About America

4:41 PM

Sitting across from the rough and tumble 80-year-old woman, a warm cup of tea in my hand, I looked about her home in wonder. Looking up, I jumped as I made startling eye contact with a decapitated moose, its face a mask of shock from the time of its sudden demise. On the wall behind, a bear frozen mid-snarl glowered at the den below. There was no doubt this was a hunting family. The husband, a genial, bearded man with the look of a lumberjack about him, had retreated to the downstairs den to watch the game. Now, it was only "us girls" upstairs with our tea and pastries. Every time a shout was heard, Helen would look wistfully in the direction of the stairs. It was clear she was a sports fan herself and longing to watch the game with the guys. However, for the sake of us non sports fans, she remained and played tea party.  After awhile the conversation turned to my writing and future plans. Suddenly, her face became thoughtful. Tilting her head, she looked at me with a pair of the wisest, dark eyes I'd ever seen. 

"Write about America, Rachel. Write about what's good."

So Mrs. Hockett, this blog is for you. 

"My dream is of a place and a time where America will be seen as the last best hope of earth."- Abraham Lincoln

It seems everywhere we turn, we are faced with America's downfall. Baby parts are being sold for cash, marriage has lost all meaning, corrupt politicians fill the media with carefully censored lies, unemployment has skyrocketed, and shootings are everywhere. This isn't the America I grew up in, nor is it the America I would wish for my children to know. 

Having lived out of the United States for some time, I've become accustomed to hearing about America's failings from foreign lips. This has never quite lost its sting. After all, America is my family, my heritage, my home. My family's history in America dates back to the 1600's, having left England under religious persecution. I cannot help but think of how astonished those ancestors would be to see how we've thrown away our costly freedoms as if they were little more than an afterthought. Many of us recognize this. Many of us are aware of the terrible turn our history has taken.

In this blog, however, I'd like to remind us of who we are, where we come from, and that we have power over what our destiny will be. Here following are some of the things that are RIGHT about America. 

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then we may be led dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington

1. Freedom of Speech 

Voltaire is quoted as having said, "I do not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it." Several years ago when visiting China, I watched a preacher give an altar call in a church service. The pastor gave an impassioned plea that all who wished to be saved would come and stand at the front as a sign of their new found belief. 13 men and women stood alongside her pledging their all to Jesus. 
Having grown up in church all my life, nothing about the event struck me as strange. However, once it was finished, the pastor begged us not to mention anywhere in China what she had done. Although we were baffled, she explained to us that she knew  there were often government spies among the crowd, and what she had done was illegal. She and all who had stood with her could go to prison if word got out. Coming back to the States, I realized, for the first time, what a precious value it is to be able to openly declare my faith and my thoughts without any expectation of retribution.

"For the American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity" - Will Rogers

2. Generosity 

While to the rest of the world we may be known as "The great Satan," the generosity of Americans is taken for granted. Perhaps it's an innate love of the underdog, but get an American passionate about something and he will live and die for it. We are over represented in the missionary community and there's hardly a corner of the world that hasn't been touched by some American hoping to bring the gospel of Jesus or make sure that others are being fed and cared for. When disaster strikes in any part of the globe, you can expect that we'll be the first to be there to give aid.  According to this article, in the International Business Times, America has been ranked the most generous nation in the world in regards to money and time.  Giving is such a part of American culture, it's hardly recognized for the wonderful thing that it is anymore. 

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." -Harriet Tubman

3. Hard Working

One of the first prejudices I ever heard against America was the reputation that we were lazy. At first I was hurt, but then I started hearing more statistics about the workaholic nature of the majority of America's population. According to Business Insider, we are ranked the fifth most workaholic country in the world. Obviously, we just don't know when to stop!While being a workaholic is clearly a bad plan, American's have an ingrained work ethic that is undoubtedly hard to match. 

"The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American dream is that every man is free to become whatever God intends he should become." - Ronald Reagan 

4. Independence

Americans are, by nature an independent people and we've fought many a war over this one. We grow up believing that with hard work and persistence, we can achieve our God-given dreams. While this may seem like arrogance, time and again, it's been proven true. The "overnight success story" belongs to our culture, because we breed independent thinkers, idealists, inventors, and dreamers. Not all are native born, but we have long been a haven for those whose worth went unrecognized by their own culture. 

It may be a dark time for us, but I believe if we return to God wholeheartedly, there is still great hope for our nation. These values we hold come directly from the reflection of His character and cannot be found without Him! I hope for the day when we call all say, without a doubt, not "God Bless America," but rather, "America blesses the heart of God." 

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