Friday, February 17, 2012

A Glimpse of America

"I took a turn out of Fleet Street and found myself in England." - G.K. Chesterton

     Chesterton has gotten me thinking. I just finished reading his series of short essays that were published in 1909. His reflections on England were remarkably refreshing, and I couldn't help but wonder if we Americans, too, can "miss the forest for the trees" sometimes.
     Many Americans, and, to some degree, myself included, can get so caught up in the failure of those in positions of authority, the failure of their personal efforts to make money, the failure of the economy, and the failure of our country as a whole. We likely get caught up in the menutia of how poorly the republican presidential candidates are dressing for debates, or perhaps we make our doomsday plans to flee to Antarctica when America is inevitably nuked as a result of our (obviously) completely inferior national security. We most likely get upset because it takes forever to get something approved by such-and-such board, and it's a crime punishable by death that the forest down the street was removed to build a subdivision that probably won't be finished for the next two decades.
When one grows complacent with life as it is, I think it will always show in their increased irritation in their country, overall discontent, and annoyance in the little things. It takes fresh eyes to see your nation for what it's worth.
     America still remains the first and only "land of liberty" on the planet, and its citizens are entitled and required to represent that national pride for as long as it lasts. America is still home to 397 national parks and monuments, preserving the most diverse features of our geography and history. Our nation's Capitol, regardless of the corruption it may contain, retains the splendor and legacy of the founders in its white marble monuments. The "American Dream" is still spoken of around the globe, and the great American experiment has been an inspiration and an influence on the world-- the legacy of which will not easily be snuffed out. As Americans, it is our duty, in my opinion, not to represent the United States not as a failing nation, but to stand behind our country and the good things that it still stands for.
     Chesterton argued that one could not truly discover the place in which he lived until he treated it as a destination; literally leaving his hometown on a circuit upon which he would return with the eyes of a foreigner or a tourist. Be a tourist in your own town today. Stop to smell those roses that were always annoying and in the way.

1 comment:

  1. Chesterton is a champion of common sense. Have you read his book, Orthodoxy? It's absolutely inspiring and lifted me with his zeal for life. Go figure, what with such a dry title. :)