Why I like Americans
An appropriate subtitle to this career column might be “What Americans have to offer the world.” Please remember, though, that this modest website has a global focus. This post could be about any group of people. But Americans happen to be my next door neighbours. And so, as I offer a few words of affirmation to my American friends and neighbours, perhaps you might be thinking about the people who live next to you.
Everybody has something to offer.
It hardly needs to be mentioned, but the observations that follow are based merely on my own perspective and experience living on the top of the North American continent or, as Canada is sometimes known, in the “Great White North.” In other words, I am not claiming to be an expert on American culture. As well, this short list is not at all exhaustive and is offered in no particular order.
What do Americans have to offer?
1. A strong military presence
From my perspective, Canada has benefited greatly by being located on the edge of the American empire and under the shadow of the American shield. Let’s face it. Nobody in Canada really expects that the Canadian military is equipped to defend the country from a large and hostile nation. We are a small country, and have always been associated with – and to some extent dependent on – larger world powers. I for one am very thankful that the USA understands the importance of “walking softly and carrying a big stick.”
Oh, I am all for peace. But the harsh reality is that there are other military powers in the world that pose a significant threat to countries like Canada. So, if you are one of the millions of Americans who is somehow contributing to the defence of the free world…thanks. Thanks a lot. Your effort is much appreciated. Your sacrifice has made this world a better place.
Please don’t take this as an affirmation of absolutely everything the American military has ever done. But, at the same time, please try to understand that Americans are providing a great service to the Western world and beyond that often goes unnoticed.
2. A spirit of generosity
For whatever reason, Americans are an unusually generous group of people. They tend to volunteer a lot and give away a larger percentage of their money. The surveys I have seen confirm this again and again. Combine a large and powerful economy with a spirit of generosity and you have a recipe for doing a lot of good in this world. Americans seem to be everywhere doing all kinds of things to help people.
Many Canadians are giving people, but overall we are not as generous as the folks next door. Maybe one day we will catch up. But for now, they have us beat.
Right now, though, many Americans are facing serious financial difficulties. My hope and prayer is that their economy will fully recover; that they will rise up once again to their full financial height; and that they will continue to shower the world with their incredible generosity.
This world could use a few more Americans. If that means people who work hard and give of themselves generously…we could use many, many more.
3. Christian Influence
If you compare the USA to other nations, you will notice that this country is made up of a very large percentage of people who identify themselves as Christians. While some people may resent Christian influence, I am not one of them. This weary world could use a great deal more authentic Christian influence. Bring it on.
It is fashionable to assume that it doesn’t really matter what you believe; that religion is all a matter of personal preference. This is nonsense. In a hundred years people will look back and wonder about the sanity of people who believed such things. Believing “whatever” isn’t going to be very appealing for those who have to deal with all the cultural consequences. If core convictions don’t matter, what does?
Sure, it has always been the case that “Christian” countries were not entirely filled with sweetness and light. But even if you have no desire to be connected with the strong Christian heritage in the Western world…have a look around. Where exactly would you like to live?
Remove any and all authentic Christian influence from your country today and you might not be as happy as you might think about the nation you are living in tomorrow.
So carry on, my American friends. In each and every way, carry on. Become everything you can become. Pursue your potential. Make the difference that you were intended to make. Carry on.
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