Most Americans believe we are the greatest country in the world. Even citizens of many other countries feel that way about us. But there is one undeniable sad bit of irony behind how we got our start, stated succinctly in this image:
There are times when certain actions or series of actions that seem, when isolated and taken out of a broader context, unfair or even barbaric, result in something good, in this case the United States of America.
I celebrate the great freedoms of our country in my own way every day, but I am uncomfortable celebrating Columbus and his “discovery” of a land that already had a population in excess of a million people. His actions began a series of actions that led to the annihilation of an entire native population and the elimination of numerous long-standing cultures. A new culture grew from that and we in that culture have plenty to be proud of.
Most of what I celebrate each year on this federal holiday is the reduced traffic in the Washington DC area because so many people are off work. I’ll celebrate our nation and it’s freedoms on Independence Day.
I’ll leave you with one more cynical thought borrowed from a friend’s Facebook page this morning: Happy European Interlopers Sneezing on Aboriginal Peoples, Spreading Unknown Viruses and Annihilating Them Day!
We’re a great country but don’t forget that at times in our history we paid dearly for the great result.