A festive tribute: Taking note of America’s best qualities

In honor of last week’s celebration, I would like to share my favorite things about the United States. Sometimes it’s hard to be on Team America, what with the endless war, another failed immigration bill, the legalization of torture and the endless ways in which the nation rejects those “self-evident truths” and “unalienable rights” while using them to sell fireworks.

Lucky for those of us who live here, the hot dogs, the flags, the flashing lights and the people who get angry with you for not being patriotic, make it easier. Here are some more things that make it that much easier for me to love America.

10. Opportunity. When people ask me why I traveled thousands of miles to America to go to aniversity, this is the reason that makes sense. It’s also the one I put on my college applications.

In America, you can work hard, pull yourself up by your boot straps and make something of yourself. Unless you went to a poor school ” or couldn’t afford to go to college, in which case there is always McDonald’s.

9. Chipotle. But that’s Mexican, I hear you complain. Actually it’s an American company, and if there is anything more American than appropriating Mexican food and making it available faster, easier and healthier than that of lesser fast-food chains, then it sure doesn’t taste as good as Chipotle’s tacos. No, they aren’t giving me free tacos (though if they wanted to, that would be cool, too.)

8. Youtube.com. What did we ever do on those lonely nights before we could watch episodes of Family Guy over and over again?


6. New York City. You can walk a couple blocks down many a street in a New York neighborhood and hear several different languages. A lot of people would have you believe that’s not American, and yet all we have to do is look at America’s history, in which anti-immigration sentiment is a constant, where every generation of newly accepted Americans has had to get over their particular racial epithet.

So, although I am always disheartened by the close-minded attitudes of those who insist on one idea of Americans; “pure” Americans, Americans that never existed; I remember that those attitudes have little do with what America really is: A country of immigrants.

5. Big explosions. I went to see Transformers last week and it was awesome. Big robots, big explosions, I felt like I was 7 years old again. The American military in the movie was cool too; their universal tactic for dealing with the enemy was to blow them up from the air. What? The giant robot scorpion isn’t dead yet? Drop bigger bombs.

Later, I was watching fireworks, when I thought about how almost everyone else in the country was doing the exact same thing and considering that we can’t even agree on whether it’s called pop or soda, that’s pretty amazing. Also, fireworks remind us that Americans have bigger bombs than everyone else, and don’t you want to be on the team with the biggest bombs? Go Team America!

4. Road trips. It is said that Americans don’t travel internationally, but I probably wouldn’t either if I could have a vacation with both ski and surf without having to bother about a passport. America is huge (HUGE), and beautiful and made for a good cross-country road trip. I don’t think there is a better place in the world to throw a bag in the backseat and a mix CD in the stereo and head off into the sunset.

3. Concerts. Live music is my drug of choice. Bonnaroo, Ozzfest, Coachella, Bumbershoot, jazz in New Orleans, electronic music in Detroit, reggae in Austin, even Bowling Green put on a pretty good show at the Portage Quarry.

2. Americans. My first week in the States I was grocery shopping and I couldn’t find some item, and a man who didn’t even work there walked around and helped me find it. A completely random guy outside Uptown gave me his socks once, it was cold and we had been waiting in line forever, it was a little gross, but kind of sweet. That’s not to say that all Americans are nice, or all Americans are anything, but a whole lot of you have given me a chance, or a piece of furniture, or a smile and for that I am grateful.

1. Freedom of Expression.