- The infrastructure works. It is usually a given that if you turn on the water it will work. Ditto for electricity, airports (in general), roads, hospitals, waste treatment, etc. In many third world countries this is often a crap shoot and running water or electricity that can be depended on is cause for celebration.
- We have a fairly good welfare safety net. In many poor countries there is no such thing as welfare, food stamps, emergency housing, mandatory emergency medical care, etc. If you don't have money you literally don't eat, you sleep on the sidewalk or under a tarp, and you will be left to die on the hospital's door step if you can't pay.
- There is limited corruption. Yes there is some corruption and bribery that goes on in the US but it is nothing like the amount of bribery and corruption in other countries where it is a daily occurrence.
- Processes are generally efficient and effective. Not always of course, but in many third world countries something as simple as using a credit card, buying an appliance, getting through the airport, or navigating the process for starting a business is one giant clusterf#&*.
- Laws are enforced and generally fair for all. In countries with high rates of corruption and poverty, there is one set of rules for the rich and another for the poor and many laws aren't enforced at all.
- We enjoy a level of safety that is unknown in most third world countries. In the US it is a fair bet that the water coming out of your tap won't poison you. Ditto for food from grocery stores and restaurants and medicines from the pharmacy. You can turn on the power and not get electrocuted or burn down your neighborhood, use transportation in a way that will more often than not get you safely to your destination, and generally expect to work in an environment that won't kill you.
- Even though the US economy is in the tank, the ability to prosper is there for everyone to take advantage of no matter your race, economic status, family, looks, etc. This isn't always true in countries where nepotism in the rule rather than the exception and/or economic opportunities are few and far between.
- I get to pay taxes. It seems that many people (myself included) tend to complain about paying taxes but I have seen how countries where many people don't pay taxes (and/or the tax money gets siphoned off by the leadership) results in nothing getting done (roads aren't paved, water systems aren't built, minimal welfare programs aren't funded, etc)
- You can live anywhere. Some countries are all tropical or all desert or all mountainous or all flat or all grassland or...you get the idea. The US has an amazing array of places to live that should suit anyone's needs.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
And I'm Proud to Be an American...
I generally spend ten months out of each year bitching and complaining about things in the US then two months of each year in countries that really give me a reason to bitch and complain. Like all other times when I return to the US (generally from third world countries) the song "I'm Proud to Be an American" rings in my head and I am reminded why living in America isn't as bad as we often think it is...