America

Sure, there is Trump. But let’s step back and take a second look at this most maligned of nations……

I remember the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Before anyone else had even brushed their teeth and downed their morning coffee, the place was swarming with American personnel, helping out with the debris clearance, tons of food, blankets and tents landing in a huge C130, American hands carrying wounded babies out of the rubble.

The first battalion to enter Auschwitz was an American one and they were carrying out ragged, flea-ridden, infected Jews in their arms, unmindful of the abominable stink and muck.

If you read about any natural disaster anywhere in the world, it is the Americans who are there first. The capacity of ordinary Americans – to do sheer unadulterated good – is phenomenal. America is an overly religious country, but maybe that is a good thing. Nearly one in every four Americans gives to charity or volunteers in a charitable organisation.

On the security side, can you imagine what might have happened to nations like Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan (and also all those tiny independent ex-Soviet Baltic states that border Russia), if it hadn’t been for the Americans’ implicit protection through Nato? What would become of Kuwait as a nation? What would happen to the UN if America refused to fund it?

We shake our heads in indignation when we hear about what Americans are planning to do with refugees and immigrants. This is in spite of the fact that America is by heads and shoulders, the largest recipient of both, refugees and immigrants today. Take most Muslims trying to flee their fucked-up homelands and settle in safer, more accommodating lands. Which one do you think is their destination of choice by a mile and a half – the United States of America. That these immigrants refuse to integrate, to blend in, choosing instead to form little ghettos there, cannot be held against a nation.

Sure, there are jerks like Donald Trump and there are all the other stupid things that America finds itself in from time to time, but which nation does not have its pricks and schmucks and its mindless endeavors?

Bigotry? Religious intolerance? Try building a new mosque in India or a Hindu temple in Saudi Arabia and then tell me who is being intolerant here. A 2013 Washington Post survey found the US one of the most tolerant and India the least tolerant nation on earth. One question in the survey – whether they would like a neighbor who was from a different race – got a negative response from 40% of the Indians surveyed.

Maybe it is time for the world to start loving this nation, for all that it has accomplished and what most of its ordinary citizens (even the white Christian ones) stand for, which just happens to be order and the rule of law and a minimum quality of life – something that has come to mean so much to so many.

I curse America every chance I get, in my blog and on these pages. I look at the American presidential electoral process with scorn. I snigger at the 18-month long ‘circus’, but maybe I am being the shmuck here. Perhaps a long electoral cycle is actually good and the only truly democratic process by which a nation can be reasonably assured that only the genuinely competent guy gets elected. Even if he happens to be black. Can you just imagine a black, with an African father, being elected head of state anywhere else in the non-African world?

A great number of folks in the world would love to see America gone, dismantled, razed to the ground, or simply put in its place, but maybe the most misunderstood are also the most missed – when they are gone.