Recent reasons to be unironically proud of America

We spend a lot of time these days talking about failings of the good old U S of A. Frankly, with good reason.

So this thread is for the opposite. Things that have happened recently (say, since Obama was elected) which really make you say “this country is still special”.

I’ll start:

-The phenomenon that is Hamilton (the musical). Could there be a more American success story? A child of immigrants works hard and finds great success, while telling the story of an immigrant who worked hard and found great success. But of course, it’s also telling the story of the founding of the USA, and doing so while fusing two quintessentially American art forms (hip hop and broadway), while also being deliberately inclusive in the best sense of the word. The fact that this musical not only exists but is insanely popular makes me proud to be an American, as does the story it tells.

I appreciate that I can travel quite hassle free over large area and explore a variety of cultures and environments in significant safety.

I enjoy the idea that despite the noise otherwise there is a lot of cross culturalism here and I can learn all kinds of new things that my upbringing doesn’t normally bring to me.

I like the idea that I can up and change my life if I have the drive and audacity to do so, and that I would have a decent chance of succeeding.

And finally I appreciate the idea that my children will have a good chance at happy lives here, with some effort and a little luck.

No place is perfect, every place can improve, I like it here.

We dominate the global social media market, at least outside China. Considering we had no inbuilt advantage there, that’s something to be proud of.

I like the fact that a child of Hungarian Jewish immigrants was able to meet the child of Chinese immigrants, get married, and have a son who is free to become anything he wants to be.

Science and technology – the Pluto flyby.

Arts – Star Wars movie grosses more than any other film in history.

Politics – we’re still awfully bitchy about it, but we’ve still got a functioning republic and more freedom than most other countries.

Economics – we pulled out of a nasty recession, with a hybrid public/private response. Greece is having trouble with this, but we made it work.

Society – yeah, we’ve got our racists and bigots and our zealots and crazies, but, by and large, we Yanks are pretty damn fine people. If you get a flat tire, damn near anywhere in America, someone will very likely stop and help you change it. We’re like that.

Despite our constant internal complaints and worries, we are still doing quite well compared to almost everyone else in terms of economic recovery. The people that sung the praises of the Japanese system, the various European economic systems and, most recently the Chinese tiger were mostly wrong at least to date. We have our recessions but others have chronic, systemic economic issues that we don’t have.

If you don’t like the weather, political climate or anything else about where you currently live then just move somewhere else in this gigantic nation. Nobody is stopping you and you don’t need anyone else’s approval for it. You can live in a quaint shack on the Florida Coast or build an off the grid mansion in Montana if you want to. You have loads of prime real estate to choose from with almost every range of choice there is and most of it isn’t crowded or expensive at all compared to much of the rest of the developed world.

Americans are generally friendly and our customer service is so good it is disconcerting to people that aren’t used to it. Plus, we know how to form lines and wait our turn so that things work smoothly and fairly. Brits do too but much of the world hasn’t gotten to that evolutionary step yet.

Also, it is a common misconception that our public schools are bad. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of really bad ones in some areas but the best elementary and high schools are competitive or better than anywhere else in the world. What really matters though is the end result. U.S. colleges and universities are disproportionately represented in the rankings of the best undergraduate schools in the world. The list of them is too long to even start here. Once you get to graduate education, the lead becomes even more overwhelming.

We have the best beer in the world and anyone who makes jokes about American beer and think BudMillerCoors is all that exists I consider as out of touch as someone who makes jokes about Japanese cars being crappy. The US isn’t responsible for inventing many of the styles but perfected them and provided a robust market. Microbreweries are springing up every minute, not to mention distilleries.

I was going to list that one as well. Some people may not believe it because the answer was very different even 20 years ago but it is true today. That may have been Jimmy Carter’s biggest legacy as President oddly enough. He signed the bill into law that allowed experimental homebrewing in 1979 that kick started innovative brewing experiments among millions of people. Some of them proved to be quite good at it over the years and refined their techniques well enough to turn it into a new business model that is still spreading like wildfire today. Not bad for a Baptist President that doesn’t drink much.

For all the brouhaha about immigration, it’s worth remembering that millions of people from countless countries still want to move to the United States. America is still the land of opportunity, where anybody with skills and motivation can find a job, do well, earn some money and make a good life for themselves.

Not only that, some groups complain that the U.S. has practically closed its borders and it is extremely difficult for anyone to immigrate legally. That may be true from some individual perspectives but it isn’t true overall and certainly not in a relative sense. The U.S. still takes in more legal immigrants than any other country in the world (about 1,000,000 a year) and it isn’t even close for 2nd place. That does not include those that do it illegally. It isn’t like other developed countries are welcoming anyone that wants to show up in droves with welcoming arms. We are still #1 in that regard by far.

If you want to see that in action, travel to a country like France or Australia and tell them you just plan to stay there and need the paperwork to fill out pronto. Even if you an upper-middle class white person, you are about to learn a new meaning of the term HELL NO. In the case of Australia, you can count yourself lucky if they don’t send you to an island concentration camp off the coast until they figure out where else you need to go because that is closer to the standard than our cushy system even for illegal immigrants.

Also on things for Americans to be proud of: our vast system of National Parks, National Forests, National monuments, State Parks, and so forth. Vast areas of natural beauty to be maintained in perpetuity. The USA invented the idea of National Parks and other preserves in the late nineteenth century, the first time in history that an enormous area had been set aside for endless preservation of nature and enjoyment of the general population, rather than just some rich person. Today the USA still preserves enormous areas of land and the idea has spread to many other countries.

All the scientific and tech advances coming out of Northern California continue to impress me.

I’m not sure if it is true, but Fareed Zakaria once said about 1/3 of our public schools (K-12) were terrible, the other 2/3 were as good as what you’d find in any other first world country. When you average it all out, it appears our public schools are terrible but it is really that 1/3 are third world in quality, the other 2/3 can hold their own against the best countries.

I don’t know if it is true or not, but that was the jist I got.

You are correct about our tertiary educational system being far and away the best on earth.

America’s very strong legal rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press are definitely something to be proud of.

P.J. O’Rourke wrote in Give War a Chance (1992):

Maybe we keep Mississippi around so that our states can’t sink lower than #49?

Nearly all of the non-location shooting of SW:TFA was done in Britain, and most of the cast is British.

Every four or eight years we have a peaceful and voluntary transfer of power. It is unbelievable how rare that is and we should be more amazed by and proud of the fact that it has been happening for hundreds of years.

I’m proud of the fact that regardless of whatever our faults may be, people still yearn to come here, and as long as they follow the rules, we generally welcome them with open arms. Yes, we have racist kooks, but on the whole, recent immigrants don’t get harassed- even Muslim ones, and are treated just like anyone else.

I saw the HBO documentary “Citizen USA: A 50 State Road Trip” a couple of years ago, and haven’t ever felt prouder to be from here than after watching it. It gave a perspective of the place that those of us who’ve always been on the inside don’t ever see and/or take wholly for granted.