Born in Belfast, I am nothing but “a simple Irish farm boy.” [True, except that I have rarely ever been near a farm…] But I am also a proud U.S. citizen. For the (day after the) Fourth of July, I thought I’d offer my top ten reasons for loving the USA.
10. I don’t have to eat peas by squishing a few at a time on the back of the tines of a fork, but can scoop them up without shame. [This only makes sense if you grew up eating peas three or four at a time…]
9. Watergate [and other scandals] came to light. In other countries, such malfesiance would be covered over. We wash our dirty laundry in public. Messy and difficult at times, I grant you, but how very wonderful.
8. Diversity — of thought, attitude, religion, ethnicity, cable channels, ice-cream flavors. I love it that we not so much a melting pot as a huge and glorious kaleidoscope.
7. Waiters and other service personnel often seem to enjoy their jobs and take pride in their work. In the British Isles, you tend to get more sullen service. Sometimes, it’s as if they’re doing you a favor.
6. Space. I come from an island which is about 300 miles long and 100 miles wide. That’s the size of a small ranch in Texas. Driving across the USA (which I’ve done three times and want to do another thirty) allows your spirit to soar.
5. There is a class system in the USA, but it not so much based on birth as on wealth and achievement. People here are proud that their parents were dirt poor but that they are living the “American Dream.” Where I come from, many people try to hide their humble roots.
4. Whatever about class, Americans (with few exceptions) have no time for snobs. Isn’t “Get over yourself” a wonderful phrase?
3. Honking great cars. I grant you that the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are the norm these days, but how can you fail to love a country that gave us the ’59 Caddy?
2. Optimism. The “can do” spirit is alive and well here despite rumors to the contrary. It’s a land of possibilities. There are still frontiers to conquer. Onward and upwards.
1. Americans. I have met the most marvellous people all over this great nation. I continually encounter people with amazing stories and great personalities. I am so lucky to live here among you.
God Bless America.