I originally posted this blog in July of 2011. As we approach the Fourth of July this year, I chose to repost it to remind us why nearly everyone wants to be an American. Have a wonderful Fourth and remember to count your blessings.
A few months ago I heard about an East Indian man who was asked why he had chosen to live in America. He replied, “I wanted to live in a country where the poor people are fat.” I cannot imagine any American-born citizen ever giving this response because it is so removed from our way of thinking. However, I believe that we can gain some very good insights about the advantages of American citizenship by listening to those who have just been awarded the privilege.
Over the last couple of years we have heard some of our best-known politicians and religious leaders apologize for America. They have proclaimed that we are to blame for most of the world’s ills. Whether it is AIDS in Africa or the consumption of too many natural resources, America is to blame. We are told that we are a greedy, selfish, spoiled, pampered and altogether bad people who owe the world an apology; they then add insult to injury by offering an apology on our behalf. I, for one, am tired of being vilified by these men who have received so much from what is undeniably the greatest country on earth.
I was very interested, therefore, this past Monday on July 4 when I saw that CNN was interviewing some of America’s newest citizens who had only that day been sworn in at ceremonies held in cities all over the United States. I was surprised to discover that an inordinate number of them held doctorate degrees and could have made a good living almost anywhere in the world. They had not chosen America because they were “poor immigrants” who hoped for an opportunity to leave poverty and squalor behind. They had chosen America for reasons far beyond the dream of becoming rich.
One man from Iraq said that after he had been in this country for only a few weeks he saw someone walking his dog. The dog was wearing socks, and the Iraqi asked the dog’s owner why he had put socks on his dog. The owner replied that the sidewalk was hot and the socks would keep the dog’s feet from being uncomfortable.
The Iraqi was astonished. He said that he could not imagine living in a country where people wanted even their animals to be comfortable. He finished by saying, “People would rather be a dog in America than a human in Iraq.”
A Nigerian man who has his PhD said that he had wanted to become an American citizen because in his country people do not even have clean water. He said that he wished Americans would travel to other countries and see the way the rest of the world lives so that “we would appreciate what God has given to this country.”
Yes, God has blessed America far beyond anything that anyone could have dreamed of 235 years ago. As a result, we owe Him a great deal. Because we have been given much, much is required of us, and most of the time we have done pretty well as a nation in responding to problems in the rest of the world. We are, by far, the leader in sending missionaries to other parts of the world. We have given trillions of dollars in foreign aid, and we are the first to send relief in times of natural disasters. We are a giving, generous people.
God has blessed us, and we, in turn, have blessed others. I hope that anyone who has ever felt guilty because America has so much will remember from whence those blessings came. We must always acknowledge that God is the author of our story, and we must always live our lives to honor Him and to show others the same kindness and generosity that He continues to show us.
People who have lived without clean water, sufficient food and a just system of government know exactly why they chose to come to America. You never have to ask the guy who would rather be a dog in this country than a human in the country from which he came, “Why would anyone want to be an American?
Joyce Swann is a nationally-known author and speaker. Her own story of teaching her ten children from the first grade through master’s degrees before their seventeenth birthdays is retold in her book, Looking Backward: My Twenty-Five Years as a Homeschooling Mother. Her newest novel, The Warrior, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net/ or like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/frontier2000mediagroup