What America Means to Me

I was the first generation to be born in the United States.  My father came here from China as a child near the turn of the last century.  Later he became an independent but not very successful businessman.  I grew up in a small town where I went to public school all the way up through my first year of high school before my family moved abroad.  I was a very poor student throughout my school years including college.  It turned out that I have a number of learning disabilities.  Regardless of all the struggles I must admit that this is probably one of the few countries, if not the only one, which would have given me many second chances in college.  Had I lived elsewhere I likely would have failed the entrance exam to college and entered the work force as an assembly operator or flipped hamburgers for meager wages.  Instead I eventually graduated from engineering school and became a rather successful engineer.  I am one of those odd people who do very poorly at school but are creative enough to have a successful career.

In spite of much criticism of our government and social issues, I feel that this has been a rather amazing country to have been born and lived in for me personally.  I have truly lived the American dream and achieved far more than I ever thought possible.  This country is far from perfect but it has much going for it to compensate for all its inadequacies.  My criticisms are intended to highlight where I feel this nation can do even better than it is.  Having lived a few years abroad in a country far poorer than this I am able to compare and appreciate how fortunate I am to have been born here.  I have seen the Good, Bad, and some of the Ugly in this country but I have also seen far worst elsewhere.

Had I been born in China I would most likely be a farmer in the poorest part of China where my father was born.  I visited my father’s farm village decades ago and was amazed at how backward they lived.  Their hundreds of years old brick houses did not have any bathrooms and only one light bulb.  There were no refrigerators, washer and dryers, TVs, radios, telephones or any of the appliances and gadgets we take so much for granted.  The bike and walking were the only modes of local transportation.

Working in this country has been an overall positive experience.  Though things were a bit rough early in my career I worked very harder.  After about 20 years this lead to some opportunities where what I did was finally recognized and I was able to develop a technology which had a very major impact for my company.  This lead to more opportunities and a very nice working environment.  So in spite of my learning disabilities I had the opportunity to advance myself far beyond my expectations.  In the mean time I had a family and lived the American dream.  I could have only accomplished this in America.

When I retired I had social security and medicare as well as an IRA which I contributed liberally to when I was working.  So I am able to enjoy myself and continue living the American dream.

I now have more time to appreciate how fortunate I am and have reflected upon how differently things could have turned out.  I also have more time to see how thing are going outside of my immediate life.  I see inequities in this country.  I see our planet earth and the delicate balance between survival and annihilation.  I see the pollution and the effects of global warming that this nation and others are contributing to.  I see how these things will affect my children and their children and all the children of this small and over crowded planet.  I see social injustices that people, much like I once was, are facing daily and how unfair it seems.  I have experienced failures in school, discrimination, bullying, and other forms of humiliation earlier in life and can feel the pain of others who suffering their own humiliations and wish such things would not happen in the country I so deeply love.  I see our government spending billions of dollars on wars instead of things of love, peace, and compassion and feel the injustice of it all.  I want this country I love so much to express more love and compassion in helping the youth of this nation get a better education and for the needy to receive more of a helping hand so that all may have a chance to excel and live the American dream.

I have many dreams for this nation and for the future of this planet.  My relationship to my country is like that with my children.  I love and care about them very deeply and always want them to improve and have better lives.  What better can I do in what time I have left on this planet?

Related Article: An Autistic’s Personal Perspective

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One Response to What America Means to Me

  1. Pingback: Thankfulness | ouR Social Conscience

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