America: The Greatest Country in the World?
**Note: I wrote this post before the tragic, heart-breaking events in Connecticut, but modified it slightly. I don’t have the answers, but this merely is my perspective …
In another life, I had the privilege of travelling around the country meeting (and schmoozing) all sorts of people. I love Chicago in the spring. I love the dry Arizona climate. I love Florida beaches. I love Los Angeles any time of year.
I cry during 9/11 memorial ceremonies. I love the national anthem. I’m a patriotic American.
In the United States, we are very brainwashed that we are the “most free country in the world,” that “they hate us because of our freedoms,” and that God should bless America (as if he shouldn’t also bless other people and countries). And I get it, the U.S. is pretty much the world superpower right now (although Russia and China are riding our asses), so why wouldn’t we think that we have the Greatest Country in the World?
Choosing an “alternative” life
The problem is not being proud of your country, the issue is that we often think that ours is the only way to live.
Before I moved to Serbia, friends were curious as to why would anyone want to move away from the United States.
I’d never actually lived outside of the US, so I didn’t know anything else, but I was open to the idea of trying. Since
Yugoslavia, no wait, Serbia-Montenegro, Serbia is my husband’s native country, moving to Belgrade was the most logical choice.
That’s not to say that I had an easy transition. Far from it. I was upset by many things that I considered backwards and old school. I looked at life here through an anxious American mommy lens. Serbia is still a developing country, with high unemployment and little economic opportunity. And it shows.
But once I began to let go of my preconceived notions, I was able to think more rationally. I could see what I’d lost, but also what I gained.
The 2nd Amendment and True Freedom for Kids
We Americans are very proud of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, as well we should be. However, we may have the right to bear arms in the U.S., but there are many freedoms that Americans don’t even realize we don’t have.
Yes, yes, there’s no 2nd Amendment in Serbia, BUT, when was the last time Americans felt comfortable letting a child out-of-site at the park for ten minutes? Quarter-past-never? Exactly. Grandpas sit in the park quietly, and moms here don’t start calling the police yelling about Stranger Danger.
First and second graders walk home from elementary school. They cross busy six-lane streets. By themselves. By third grade, many kids ride the public bus. Alone.
The point I’m trying to make is that we make this whole big deal being able to own a gun.
But what about our kids’ freedom to be able to walk around their neighborhood without worrying about being taken, or attacked, … or shot?
What about kids’ freedom to feel safe within. their. own. school?
Then there’s the day-to-day convenience: What about my freedom as a mom not to have to spend hours and hours every day to drive my kids all over the place, just so they can (safely) attend school and their now-imperative extracurriculars?
I’m all for citizens’ rights to protect their home with a registered gun, that’s kept unloaded and securely locked. However, semi-automatic weapons and the ability to purchase bullets at Walmart? I believe that’s not what the Founders intended.
We get so caught up in holding onto our “Bill of Rights freedoms,” that we don’t realize what we’re really missing out on. Stepping off my soapbox …