What Makes America Great
1. Freedom of speech. Being able to say what I feel without the fear of being thrown in jail. Because of freedom of speech, people holding minority views are able to express their concerns, which can pave the way for an increase in human rights.
2. Free lower education schools. There are good schools and there are bad schools, but every child between the age of 5 to 17 in America is guaranteed the availability of a basic education.
3. The ease of going into business for yourself. Whether it's making and selling crafts, or providing professional services, it is easy to start your own business. There are not overtly high license fees or other initial business costs. You can even start a business in your free time while still working a full-time job to support yourself until your business takes off.
What America Can Do Better
1. Focus on education, including reduced costs for higher education. Education funds keep getting cut, people don't want to pay higher property taxes, teachers are denied cost of living wage increases. America needs smart people. It needs people who are able to solve problems, not just do grunt work. It needs to give children a desire to learn more about things they are interested in, and the tools to follow that curiosity to a fruitful and enjoyable career.
2. The general population needs to lose their fear of intellectuals. We need smart *AND* inventive people to make this country great, and that includes people who are able to look at problems in new ways (and not keep doing the same thing because that's the way it's been done for generation before generation before generation). Which leads to Number 3.
3. Turn off the television. There is time for fun and relaxation, but this country seems to have not-getting-off-their asses mastered. Watching television is a very passive activity. It may not exactly stifle creativity, but it definitely doesn't force its viewers to think critically. I am astounded at how much television my friends and family watch.
Good stuff in answer to the question: can you name three things that make your country great, and three things you would change?
I have been thinking a bit lately about the notion of “forgiveness”. It is a fairly complicated notion, and not straightforward at all. I know a couple of people who are into something called “Radical Forgiveness”. The pitch for Radical Forgiveness is that you forgive someone, or yourself, and thereby manifest a better future, lose weight or increase prosperity. Perhaps all three. At any rate, it sounds like six kinds of bullshit, and a commercialization of a complex moral issue.
You may hear stories from time to time of people who have suffered some horrific wrong or injustice, and they turn around and forgive the perpetrator, and “move on”. You may also hear stories of people who suffered a wrong or injustice, big or small, and they can never let it go, never forgive or forget, never move on. The former scenario may seem incomprehensible at first, while the latter may be all too understandable. Is the act of forgiving one of bestowing a gift, or is it a necessary cathartic precursor to enable the “victim” to get on with his or her life? Does forgiving come from some place of moral superiority? Does the wrongdoer have to apologize and ask for forgiveness before it can be given? Are atheists allowed to forgive, or is that the exclusive province of the faithful, whatever stripe their religion? Is forgiveness simply part of the human condition?
I am not certain of any of these things. I myself have been taken advantage of in the past by people with fewer scruples than a Wall Street investment banker. I suppose I have never forgiven, but rather forgotten, mostly. My heritage is a fiery, angry, invading one, with little room for forgiveness, so I suppose I come by that honestly. There have been other times, though, when I have forgiven, and I must say that I have preferred that the wrongdoer seek forgiveness before it is given. Is that the correct way? Is there a correct way? Perhaps the better question in all of this is: is forgiveness even necessary?