Friday, July 04, 2008

God Bless America

I love America.

That's easy to do, since there are so many things to love about the United States of America.

First and foremost I admire America's belief in progress. Just because something is bad now, doesn't mean it will stay bad forever; things can be changed, for the better. Not changed, as in eliminated, or replaced, which is the usual result of most revolutions. America's revolution was to keep, to conserve, the good things they felt they had achieved, and to add to them. To "plus" themselves.

I love Americans (and one in particular: my American wife!). They are optimists. They are creators, they do things, build things. They add to what's already been built. They "plus" our world.

I have faith in America. America is the living example of what faith means: to hold an idea in your imagination, and work to bring it to light. The labor that goes into this act of creation requires some of the strongest brand of courage there is: the courage to admit you're wrong. If what you're building isn't what you were aiming for, you need to be able to see the difference. Otherwise you build a prison rather than a paradise, poison instead of medicine. Few are those with the bravery to dis-illusion themselves as they labor, to strip away fantasy, and bathe themselves with doubts, in order to obtain a clean version of reality. Safer to never question, to never re-think, to never test our faith... safest of all, is to never try to create anything.

As children, every youngster loves to paint, to sing, to draw... and does so, with little inhibition; yet most youngsters reach an age when they learn to see that their graceless stumbling isn't really elegant dancing, their scribbles aren't really great art. And they stop being creative, they put away paint and flute and ballerina slippers. "I'm not really very good now", they say, "that means that I'll never be good... so why go on trying..?" They lose their faith, confusing the short-term present with the long-term future... with eternity.

In their own way, Americans continue trying. They never abandon their faith in themselves, they persevere in their belief they will forever succeed in getting closer to the ideal they hold in their mind's eye, however long it takes. Their country, after all, was built on faith, the faith that their people will continue to become better Americans, and better able to keep re-creating the successes of those who came and "plussed" things before them.

America is a country so full of heroes, a word which to me means, "someone who does what they are supposed to do." A couple of Christmas' ago, I made a short video to express my gratitude for the example that Americans set, generation after generation, in showing just how much goodness there can be, in living life as a human being, created in God's image: as beings capable of imagining better things, and working to bring them to light.

From the macro, to the micro: a video I was lucky enough to find, of a gentleman who, for me, is a typical American: someone who believes in "plussing" their world, and acts on that belief:

May God continue to Bless America.


Dag said...

I just now finished my post for the fourth of July. It's too late to put it up now. I want to sit on it, to sleep on it, and see if tomorrow it conveys what I feel about my home. Your post does that to a great extent, and I than you for it. You probably did a better job of what I had hoped to do than I can. I take such a different approach that my efforts might seem from a different planet. I think you do a wonderful thing here.

To us all: "Happy Independence Day!"

Eowyn said...

Your post -- especially the second video -- left me in tears. I put that video on my own site (with credit to you, of course).

Thanks so much, from one grateful American.

Findalis said...

Thank you from one grateful American Veteran.

WomanHonorThyself said...

nice nice post!Happy Fourth of Juuuuuuuuly!

Dag said...

When we meet each week and often in emails, Charles usually mentions at some point how it is so different for us compared to those Leftists who seem to hate us and who hate America: That our friends are happy and decent and loving people; and that the Leftists are angry and cynical and corrupt. The evidence of our greatness is in our presence here, in the commentators who come and leave messages like those above.

OK, except for me. I just get grumpier every year. But aside from me, and sort of aside from David, the rest of us are the best!

God Bless America. And God bless you all too. Happy Independence Day.

truepeers said...

The greatness of America is too much of a scandal for too many people that we don't sufficiently reflect on why the Declaration of Independence was to bear such fruits.

This was one of the few "revolutions" that worked; I think because it was a true return to reflect on the origins of human kind and that curious, inalienable, fact of our existence: free will.

Let us go forward in a similar spirit wherever we are.

ebt said...

Every 4th of July I get a hankering to hear a wonderful song that was issued by an Irish band called Horslips, in 1976, called "The Man Who Built America". It was the title track of an album they released in an attempt to break the American market by appealing to patriotism in the Bicentennial year. It didn't quite succeed, but it became a radio staple for years in Toronto. It's well worth hearing if you can ever track a copy down.

Aeneas the Younger said...

If you love the USA so much, then here's a suggestion:





truepeers said...

Charles, I apologize for that last comment. He followed me here after he decided I wasn't Canadian enough thanks to some comments at another blog that lauded two American judges.

What you say about anti-Americanism among the young people you know is proved right yet again: the disease of the terminally resentful.

Oh... I see he's 45; all the more shameful if not immediately terminal.

Charles Henry said...

Aaah, don't worry 'bout it. :)

Imagine if he had read my Canada Day post instead of this one..!

Aeneas the Younger said...

Ah ... the old "he's just another anti-American" gambit.

Do you even know how and why there is a Canada?

Do you know who the Loyalists are/were?

Have you heard of the War of 1812; what about the Fenian Raids?

Where was the USA in 1914? 1939?

What about JFK's direct interference in the 1963 Dominion Election?

There are many more outrages. Do you know of them? Do you care?

Dag said...

"Aeneas." What a misnomer that is.

truepeers said...


Let me assure you that I know quite a lot about Canadian history.

And still, I see things differently from you.

I could be outraged; I've decided that other attitudes are more conducive to the serenity needed for real thinking.

Charles Henry said...

Findalis, thank you for your service, somehow I missed seeing your comment earlier.

ebt, thanks for the recommendation... I'm not familiar with them, I will look them up at the library on my way home from work tonight.

Dag, isn't it funny how aeneas shows up to prove your point.

aeneas, there are a few other Democratic party presidents whose bad neighbor behavior is missing from your list. What about Cleveland's salmon war, for instance? Might as well be complete.
(you especially skipped over my favorite: the pig war! I detect an anti-BC bias, to have left that west-coast event off your proctologist's view of North American history)

Seriously, though, why isn't there a difference between the physical shell and the spirit within it? A building is just a building, a nation is just a plot of ground, both are likely to change as the inhabitants of these containers change. Just as an individual can change, as their soul changes within them.

Or do you believe that people are statues, that one act is every act, one event all events, with no hope for repentance, atonement, and renewal?

That's not my definition of a good neighbor.

America is always changing, in the same way that a person is always changing. If you're going to be honest in your critique, you would need to point to the good as well as the bad, not just the bad, and say that the good was not, is not, good enough.

The US waited a while before joining World War I, but when they did join, their efforts resulted in us winning the war. They defeated Hindenburg and Ludendorf where the allies could not.

The US waited before joining WWII, but afterwards they initiated the Marshall Plan. They rebuilt the Europe that had so thoroughly destroyed itself. They didn't have to do that; I don't see in that sacrifice, the thuggish nation you see in it.

The US is a work in progress, continually changing itself, as the soul within it changes.

Ultimately your comments reveal how envy can be such a terrible poison to breathe in day after day. I remember when I was contaminated by that plague myself, and I Thank God I grew humble enough to admit how wrong I was to indulge in it. I have America to thank for that, as well.

God Bless America.