It’s been quite a campaign season so far. The election. The debates. The issues and non-issues that somehow become issues nonetheless. It can be overwhelming. And disheartening — for me, at least. The negativity and accusations and misinformation and misrepresentation and name-calling and scandals could be enough to discourage and dispirit a regular American — or at least cause her to consider a vacation from social media.
I am a regular American, and I was feeling it. I noticed last week the non-congenial atmosphere online, on-screen, on-air and everywhere in between was getting to me in a not-so-good way. I didn’t like that I was falling prey to it.
It’s easy, sometimes, to be influenced by our surroundings. And, while the current campaign cycle may be introducing a certain amount of negativity into the air, I still believe in the corny notion of “America the Beautiful.” So, to get over myself and my own propensity for gobbling up the malarkey set before me, I decided to make a partial list of some of the reasons why I am proud to call the United States home sweet home.
1. Let’s start with the obvious. Thanks to the 19th Amendment, I get to vote. I don’t fear that someone will try to keep me from voting or take my right away. The 24th Amendment guarantees this privilege is free.
2. Historically, we are a nation that follows the rules of our established political process. Even though the current presidential election has been hotly contested and filled with strife, after the election, the losing candidate will step aside. That’s a given in our country. The current POTUS will vacate the office on Jan. 20 and assist the new president in making a smooth transition without riots or violence. It’s how we do things.
3. I can attend the church of my choice — or not — as declared in the First Amendment. No one tells me what I should or must believe or how I should dress or to whom I should pray. Well, they try to, but I can choose not to listen. Remember, I’m on a vacay from Facebook.
4. Our nation is one of possibilities. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Anyone can do anything — or at least aspire and try. I have built my own (albeit small) business doing what I love — that’s writing, by the way.
5. U.S. citizenship is a right, responsibility and a huge and great privilege. Many others outside the U.S. would trade places with me in a heartbeat. They long to become a citizen of our nation. We must be doing something right.
6. I believe in the words from the well-known song. “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies.” Our nation is large in size. We have space to roam. We can live in a high-rise or in the wilderness on a large plot of land. Choice is good.
7. Fast food, slow food and homemade meals. “With amber waves of grain.” Not only are we large, we are fertile. We are able to grow productive crops and use them to feed hungry people. And, while hunger remains an issue for too many, our government recognizes this as a problem and works to fix it. A caring and compassionate nation is one to be thankful for.
8. “For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.” Our nation is majestically beautiful with awesome sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. We have mountains, canyons, fields, farmlands, deserts, vineyards, apple orchards, backyards, caves, oceans, lakes, rivers, beaches, hot springs, waterfalls and Disney World. And we have people. I firmly believe we are our own greatest asset and resource.
It’s hard, sometimes, to filter through conflicting information and ascertain the truth. This election year, the challenge is put before us. Although we may have differing opinions about whom we should vote for on Nov. 8, we all should have this in common: a respect, appreciation and allegiance to our country and each other.
“And crown thy good, with brother (and sister) hood from sea to shining sea.”
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.