With the anger across America it does come to mind if some people hate the United States so much, they wish we never existed in the first place.
At Oxford University the Oxford Union, a prestigious debating society, debated the proposition, “This House regrets the founding of The United States of America.”
A Brit, Matt Frei, from BBC News was on the American side of the debate. He has some sweet reflections on America, the good, bad, ugly, most all, what we all would have missed.
It is very easy to find Americans who disagree with its current direction. But you’ll be hard pressed to come across those who regret its very existence in a fit of collective self-annihilation. The confusion of one with the other strikes me as the fundamental flaw of this motion.
How different might our lives look? We would not be listening to George Bush’s fluent Texan. We would never have had the benefit of Donald Rumsfeld one-liners or clogged our arteries on a Big Mac.
But what music would we be listening to on our iPods? Would it be German marching songs or Russian ballads? Would we even have an iPod?
Yes, the beloved iPod was designed by a British citizen, Jonathan Ive, a son of Chingford, Essex. But would his design have changed the world of music if it hadn’t been for Apple, an American company, based in Cupertino, California?
How different would the world be without the Bill of Rights? What about Thomas Jefferson?
The Declaration of Independence was the quintessential treatise of self-determination. If America had never been founded it would have remained unwritten. And who can imagine life without the Dumb Waiter, another Jefferson innovation?
The list goes on and on (and I apologise for any omissions): Thomas Edison, who had 1,093 patents for inventions in his name; Henry Ford; the Wright brothers; Bill Gates; the Boeing corporation; Desperate Housewives; The Sopranos and, of course, SpongeBob SquarePants.
The television was invented over decades by a German, a Brit and a Russian but their ideas all came together in the middle of Middle America.
The United States created an environment in which inventive minds had access to easy credit, a willing market and the freedom to dream and create without fear of prosecution or recrimination.
To be against the founding of America is not to be original but to continue a long line of misguided bigots who always resented the birth of the US.
America did not come from nowhere. It was an offspring of Europe, the step-child of a corrupt, moribund post-feudal system. America encapsulated the principles of the Enlightenment – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – wrapped them in the pursuit of happiness, underpinned them with an inalienable right and turned an IDEA into a country.
…. America found and keeps finding the solutions to its mistakes. It is a giant, rolling social experiment in constant pursuit of self-correction.
The US is a nation built not on ethnicity, not on religion, not even on history but on an idea.
We Europeans created America and to regret this is to engage in a colossal act of self-denial verging on self-mutilation. We have a stake in its survival and its success and we ought to nurture it, not bring it to its knees or delight in its misfortunes. We can criticise its leaders without regretting its existence.
As the writer and poet John Ciardi put it: “The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself”!
And we’re damn proud to be American!
Source: BBC News