More and more Americans are making it a science to complain about what we, or they, don’t like about our country and its offerings. Reasonable debate and criticism are healthy and justifiable. But in recent times, with the nefarious aid of cowardly, anonymous sources via the Internet and self-serving talk show people, things have been carried to ridiculous extremes, to the point someone arriving from outer space would conclude we live in the worst nation on the globe.
It’s often been said that the best way to lead a happier life is to do more with what we have rather than incessantly moaning about what we think we don’t have or need. To get a better perspective, we citizens should attend some events in which our ranks are increased by naturalization ceremonies, such as the one here this week at the Dole Institute of Politics. A group of 99 new citizens from 36 different countries took an oath pledging their allegiance to the United States of America.
These are grateful people who had to work long and hard to reach such a stage, perhaps after living in their native states where they had little or no chance to do what they can as Americans. They are typical of the millions of people elsewhere who would give almost anything to live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Millions will do anything to escape the terror and deprivation they wake up to and go to bed with, if they are not tortured or killed somewhere along the line.
How many times have we read about and seen scenes of people risking death just to get to America? There are countless stories of individuals who would risk everything to enjoy the rights and privileges we take for granted in our ranting and raving about what we don’t like or what we “ought to have.”
Flash back to the beaming faces of the people at the Dole Institute who worked to face a better future and are now eager to contribute to rather than detract from their adopted country. Not that they, too, won’t have reason to complain, demonstrate and petition now and then. But it is not likely they will become careerists in complaining the way too many of us “natives” have done.
Again, we need to remind ourselves regularly about the people in other lands who would in a heartbeat follow any path that would bring them here. Think of the many who came here in centuries past who were expecting, perhaps, “streets of gold” or perhaps the more mundane “free love and nickel beer.” They were disappointed that life was not that easy, but soon saw the opportunities they had and began to use them to good advantage, helping to build a nation in which we all benefit. That is still happening if we will give positive forces more support.
All we have to do to embark on that path is to take note of the optimism and enthusiasm those new citizens at the Dole Institute displayed and work harder at using our many benefits.
Americans need not look far to be reminded just how glad they should be they live in our country.