With the Independence Day holiday this week I can’t seem to turn my attention away from events overseas. Whether it’s another sectarian uprising in Iraq or footage of some crying citizen in the streets of Spain after World Cup elimination, it’s impossible for me to not simply feel lucky to be living here in this nation.
I like soccer, too, but I’m not fixing to cry about it. I have my religion, other people have theirs. I went to a Nazarene University, we played the Baptist schools all the time, we kept score, we didn’t shoot each other. God Bless America.
The more I see, the more I believe we’re pretty darn lucky. I’m fortunate to have a job in sports. In sports, for crying out loud. We give student-athletes scholarships so they can play a game, get an education and learn some important life lessons. We’re not putting AK47s in their hands and having them fight a war that nobody wins.
I’m not saying we’re better than everyone else. OK, maybe I am a little. There’s a reason they’re beating down the door, crashing through the borders and risking life and limb to get to this country. We’ve got it figured out.
No, we’re not perfect, just watch any exploitive show on TLC and you’ll see that, but we’re a lot better off than most of the other guys.
Yes, we spend too much time at work; maybe we should be more like the Europeans and vacation during the whole month of August. Then again, there’s a reason why the dollar is worth more than the Euro and several countries in that part of the world are in economic distress. We’re not without financial fault either, with a national deficit higher than we can imagine, we’re just better at keeping the wolves away. Loan us a few bucks and we’ll do you a solid, we’re not coming to invade you anytime soon and we’ll pay you back eventually. That should be on our loan apps.
I’m reminded of the Cadillac commercial starring Neal McDonough when he talked about us going to the Moon then getting bored; “left a car up there with the keys still in it. Why? Because we’re the only ones going back, that’s why.” It’s true. We overachieve in the name of progress while others quarrel over how to pray properly or if it’s moral to be in one type of relationship or another. We’ve mastered the art of “mind your own business.”
Yes, we’ve taken this political correctness a little too far, but maybe somebody is worried that without understanding we’ll turn into another violent society that plagues the evening news with stories of upheavals and mass graves. Maybe acceptance is the insurance policy of civilization. I’m willing to give it a try.
I’m still proud to live here despite some troubled times of our own. Yes, our school children should feel safe in schools, no they shouldn’t be targeted by the mentally ill who feel their only choice is to open fire on the innocent while making a few headlines on the way out. It’s sickening, but we’re working on it.
We’re working on a lot of things. Heck, we haven’t stopped working since telling England to bug off 238 years ago. We’re good with them now though, that’s how we roll, no grudge is worth the cost of progress, we’ve learned that, but others have yet to figure it out.
I’m happy to live in a society where creativity is rewarded, I get to be on TV, radio and write on a regular basis while sharing my thoughts and feelings. Men and women sacrificed and died to give me that privilege. I’m grateful. You are never forgotten.
Despite our imperfections, I sure wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
So this Independence Day, I will be enjoying the fruits of the American spirit — watching American sports like baseball and stock car racing, hanging out in my hometown with people who are just as fortunate and grateful to live in the United States as I am.
Time to party like it’s 1776. God Bless America.
COREY COSTELLOE, a Tehachapi High graduate, is Director of New Media and Broadcasting for California State University, Bakersfield.