1. We allow people to (re)invent themselves. You are not stuck with your historical and cultural baggage but can move to another part of this enormous country and become the person you want to be. [I’m hoping to move to Colorado and become an Olympic ski jump champion!]
2. We give people second chances (and not just on Dancing with the Stars.) Whether it’s disgraced televangelists, corrupt politicians or drug-demented stars, we seem to have an innate desire to give people a chance to redeem themselves. I find that an admirable trait.
3. We are extremely hardworking. This one has its downsides, of course, but our American drive to succeed means that often we will work ourselves to the bone. Some foreigners look at us and think we’re completely mad. They may be right… but I love my work.
4. There is deep within us a desire to act justly and decently, even if, as in the case of Civil Rights, it takes us an achingly long time to get there.
5. We are not snobs. With few exceptions, we reject distinctions based on status, wealth and birth. Despite the growing income gap, we are still very egalitarian in spirit.
6. We are a big sprawling country with amazing ethnic and cultural differences and yet, for the most part, we make it work. We are “one nation under God.”
7. We are kind to strangers. I know this is by no means a virtue dominated by Americans, but I have been amazed time and again at the sheer goodness and generosity that has been shown to me by complete strangers.
8. We have an amazing breadth of culture. From the sublime arts of ballet and opera to that abomination unto God called Country & Western music, there is something for every possible taste.
9. We are an automobile-based society like nowhere else. Millions of us get our kicks on Route 66 and elsewhere. And I love it. [And I know ecologists will hate me for it…]
10. Football on TV. No other country comes close to our ability to show plays from every angle, for computerized field markings and for entertaining and knowledgeable commentators.
Okay, what really obvious things did I leave out?