Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day: What Makes Us Great

Gumption.  Courage.  Elbow grease.  Determination.  Ingenuity.  Dedication.  Faith.  Fortitude.  Our ancestors who left their home countries in search of America possessed all of these qualities.  On tiny ships, they set out as free agents.  Their dreams of free exercise of religion, free enterprise, and opportunity for future generations were realized through braving the harshest of nature’s elements, fighting wars, establishing laws, taking risks, and trying over and over until they succeeded.

The same qualities accompanied those immigrants who arrived a couple of hundred years later on larger, more sophisticated ships at Ellis Island.  So it is today for those immigrants who come here with the desire to become Americans and stay until they die.  Whether those determined Americans-to-be arrive on an airplane, drive across a border, or stow away while trapped for weeks or months inside a shipping container, they come here for opportunity.  When I see pictures of those desperate souls who dare to float across the Florida Straits - across 90 miles of perilous ocean on inner tubes or rudimentary, handbuilt rafts - I realize how good we have it here.  Those of us born here never had to face sharks, stormy seas, drowning, or dehydration to get here.  Imagine being so desperate to get away from something, so hopeful that you could have opportunities you have never had before, that you risk your life in such a manner.  Many have perished before reaching our Land of Promise.  In the 90’s, thousands attempted to make it across those straits in various homemade floating devices, with only one in four reaching Florida beaches alive.  Those same desperate souls would rather die trying for freedom than stay in the old circumstances.  Rather die.  God help them.  What we have here must be pretty darned good, y’all.

That same searching spirit that rows its way here is what built this nation, brick by brick, board by board.  The huddled masses of hundreds of years ago sawed, hammered, tilled, planted, watered, harvested, sewed, and welded us into the great nation we are.  We continue to be great because of education, small businesses, free speech, and choices that are unfathomable in other countries.  It’s better here, because of opportunity.

While times have been tough in the last few years, the USA is knocked down but not destroyed.  Yes, over 8 million jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009 with only a few added back since.  But the USA has woken up.  The battle cry has been heard, and the people are standing up. 

Descendants of English, Irish, Scots-Irish, German, Japanese, Mexican, Cuban, and everything in between are rising up not as the heritage of the old countries, but as the heritage of the Melting Pot.  “Bring back our jobs!” they are crying.  We are Americans, and we will work hard.  We will not give up.  And we will not allow the opportunity that gives this country its good name to be taken away.  That’s what makes us great.  How are we doing it?

The non-partisan Buy American/Made in the USA movement is growing every day.  It inspires me and excites me to see more and more people making an effort to buy American goods and support American jobs.  In honor of our great nation, go out and buy something today that was made in the USA.  Cheer Google for creating a USA-made media streamer, the Nexus Q.  Cheer Chi for bringing some hair dryer manufacturing jobs back to the USA.  Support a local artisan or buy a buy a book written by  a local author.  Tell the corporations who shipped their manufacturing overseas to get wise and bring it back.

While you’re at it, watch the trailer for Josh Miller’s movie “MADE IN THE USA: THE 30 DAY JOURNEY” that is coming out soon:  MOVIE TRAILER

People like Josh Miller change the world.  People like Josh Miller are Americans.

Who are your favorite Americans?