Dear America, (and fellow Americans)
I am writing this note as an outsider. I promise I won’t pretend to know a lot about your politics, your issues and your economy. Because honestly, I don’t. Therefore I will put together my points in the most layman way possible. #InMyOpinion “You are already a great nation. You don’t need to be made great again.” And I would love to tell you why.
Two years back I got married and I came to the States, with my entire 26 years of life packed in two suitcases that could not weigh anymore than 40 kgs. I have been since looking forward to start over with new experinces, new memories and a new lifestyle along with my husband. I won’t lie I had no fancy expectations, and I was skeptical throughout about this life-changing adjustment. So I decided to look at your systems, infrastructure, and lifestyles very objectively. And this is what I noticed to declare you GREAT.
I will start with your basic city-life and infrastructure first.
- Your air is certainly clean, healthy and pollution free as compared to a lot of other nations. (Its nice to live in such an environment.)
- You invest a lot in your national parks and public gardens to maintain them beautifully and turn them into spaces that can be used by people for leisure and fitness. You even have special dog parks. (That’s not usual in other parts of the world.)
- You not only have special walking/jogging trails and bike routes on roads and various neighborhoods, but you also make sure they are being used and maintained by law. (That’s a big deal.)
- People follow traffic signals here, and cross on zebra crossings on their own turn. Cars stop to let you pass first if you are on foot. (Really? That’s incredible.)
- You have designated spaces, elevators and amenities for handicapped people in wheelchairs in restaurants, movie theaters, stores, trains, and busses. (Many other countries don’t have this system.)
- You maintain your water bodies. Most of them can be used as beaches, for swimming, for water sports and water activities. (That is certainly not very common.)
- There are recycling bins in each household, each community, and there are rules to use them. (Thank you.)
- You appreciate and encourage public art, and buskers can easily earn a decent living with their talent by performing legally on the streets. (Hooray!)
Trust me, its hard to find all the above as such a complete package in the rest of the world. And these are the little things in life that are easy to pass by and ignore. But as an outsider, you have hands down won my heart.
Lets talk about IMMIGRATION now. America’s favorite debate this year.
Since the time I have come to America, I have met countless immigrants, expats and students from countless parts of the world. You have not only opened your doors to such a great variety of races and religions but you have also given them an opportunity to work with you, contribute, grow and try for a citizenship someday. And even though I am completely aware of the fact that many people disapprove of this for various reasons – it still takes a big heart, a great vision and most importantly a lot of courage to implement this.
But. You have not only allowed diversity, you have also used it smartly to your advantage. How?
Imagine this hypothetical: You give the same business idea to implement on a little piece of paper to let’s say four different people – a Japanese, a Chinese, an Indian and an American. Studies show all the four people will implement this idea differently, not only because they are different individuals but also because they come from different countries with different cultures and education systems. Now, you have invited all these varied minds into your workspaces all together.
You see my point? This is where you aced it. One can only imagine how you are able to create such amazing success stories when it comes to businesses and why the rest of the business world looks up to your companies. Without welcoming immigration – this might not have been possible.
Now lets look into dreams and #lifegoals. I will get straight to the point. If you work hard in America in a decent/good job and save substantially – you can possibly buy your own dream house still at a young age, making a good living for yourself and your family. Your children can always be privileged to good basic education because public schools are free. All this is such a hard dream to get for many other countries for numerous economic reasons. But for you America, these dreams are achievable with a bit of genuine hard work – (take it or not, is an individuals choice).
Then, there is freedom to work all kinds of jobs, without judging. This happens to be the best thing I love about you. People here can be anything they want and still will be respected. Students from all sorts of families be it lower or upper class, can work in a restaurant, pubs, bars, Starbucks, in call-centers, in routine office admin jobs…the list goes on. I can work on a boat if I wish, in a gas station, or as a window cleaner for all I care and still earn my minimum wages, with respect from my family, relatives and peers. No job is ever so low here and every earning human is appreciated. In most countries with rigid caste systems and status phobias, this freedom is not a choice.
Last but not the least, is your dignified ‘Freedom of Press’. While pursuing my MS in journalism at the Boston University, a recent class in ‘journalism laws and ethics’ left me totally impressed. As compared to China which is the world’s most restrictive media environments; and my own country India which is still struggling with legal protections for journalists that are not always sufficiently upheld by the courts or respected by government officials; – The American freedom of press is largely bulletproof. I deeply admire the journalistic freedom that one has, the power to write and raise opinions, disclose matters of public interest and the protection that a journalist can expect from his/her own government. If there is one place in the world where I would love to pursue a bold and free-spirited journalism career – it will be most certainly America.
In conclusion, even though I miss India terribly for the intense beauty of our cultural-chaos, my American journey has been greatly inspirational for all the reasons stated above. As an outsider I do believe that America is a great nation already, and maybe looking beyond for greater advancements might be the real need of the hour. With this I rest my case, and I only hope that somewhere through this read I helped you re-look at your greatness with a smiling heart.
Best, An expat in America.