In the most exciting 4th of July ever, I spent almost the entirety of yesterday in front of my computer completing homework assignments for school. It was only interrupted by calming down our dogs because Texans love shooting off fireworks. IN DAYTIME. Huge thank you to Bubba and his redneck clan that decided to set up their folding lawn chairs not in front of their front yard, but ours two houses down and set off their fireworks display so that our dogs could freak out and bark and growl constantly. It created a very calming and helpful work environment. I don't think I can be any more sarcastic than that.
As I completed my work, there was an assignment where I had to respond to a proposal that solves a problem. There is a very conservative student in my class who, in another assignment, had suggested that a solution to border crossings was to shoot people on sight. This individual is an immigrant from Canada himself, so his xenophobia is a little alarming, in my opinion. However, he proposed a solution for this assignment that I actually agreed with! And so I quickly provided feedback before anyone else could so that I could offer positive words instead of the concerned ones I had issued the week before.
The solution he proposed was the legalization of all drugs. His main premise was people should be free to do what they want and that the drug problem was better addressed through rehab than incarceration. At the end of my response I said the following: "It's ironic that I am writing this on the 4th of July when we celebrate living in the Land of the Free. Except we are not free to smoke a joint, buy alcohol in all places, pay someone to have sex, play a game of poker outside of a casino, marry whomever we want regardless of gender, go to the bathroom that makes sense, die when we want, or even use the internet without monitoring. Maybe we need to stop saying we live in the Land of the Free."
It's kind of like coffee. Before I lived overseas, I enjoyed American coffee. I probably would have dumbly told you that it was the best around. I mean how could it not be? The US is the largest economy in the world. It innovates better than any other country. Of course we would have the best coffee. And then I got to live in other countries. Where they actually have good coffee. The stark difference was very sobering. Other sobering differences include quality of airports, internet connections, not needing a prescription to buy an inhaler, tipping being unncessary because workers are paid a living wage, taxes already factored into the prices of goods, more thin people than obese people, and no clothing with words on the butt.
I can't dust off the foam #1 finger and wave it around regarding America's freedoms because, while it might feel good to do so, it just isn't true. I believe that is the biggest divide in this country today. One side dwells on feelings. They FEEL that immigrants are ruining the country. They FEEL that they are being taxed too much. They FEEL that minorities on welfare are a huge burden on the country. Hell, I could go on and on. The other side dwells on facts. Which, to be honest, is kinda annoying and boring, I know. But the facts tell a very different story. And that is where we are the #1 country in the world. We live in the top country where you are free to ignore facts. We narrowly beat out our newest best buddy, North Korea. That should be a sobering thought.