The American family 2015

2015 is almost over. Some of the human produced
events making the news during this year not only
affected individuals and households but our whole
American family. That is not easy with a group as
big as ours.

Between 1776 when our population was about two
and a half million and 2015 where the estimate is
three hundred twenty two million we have really
blossomed. If there is an area in the world that has
not contributed to our family I can’t discover it. We
are every color in the rainbow, every religion
known to man, every size and shape there is.

During that time we went from eight people per
square mile to eighty five. We became more crowded
but not as much as Japan, India or Belgium where
over three hundred have dinner in each square
kilometer.

George Washington led a military of about twenty
thousand men in the beginning. Now we have over
three million including reserves. We need them.
Twenty eight people per soldier in 1776 has grown
to ninety two people per soldier now. Our guns and
training are better but the responsibility is heavy.

America has come from agricultural self supporting
to one of the world’s leading economic markets.
From a small group of adventurers to a well known
political and cultural force. From insignificant and
struggling to a leader in the fields of science and
technology. In spite of that, in some ways we are still
as silly as any group on earth.

Our family has roughly three hundred twenty two
million opinions. We argue and fight with our brothers
and sisters about things important or trivial.
Somebody is always suing somebody, running a red
light, littering the street, polluting the air or water.

In our home geography weapons, bombs and crime
are in the news daily. Not only from angry family
members but strangers who sneak in for their own
reasons. Police forces are always busy. Martial arts,
self defense and home security have become big
business. Schools need guards. It makes me want to
spank somebody.

Some of our neighbors in other lands ask us to help
protect them from enemies and criminals. If we say
no we are hard hearted and selfish. If we send military
and advisors we are sticking our nose in where it does
not belong. No matter what we decide some group
doesn’t like it.

Foreign aid money for harsh needs is sought by many.
When we give it some is stolen or wasted. Between us
there is constant argument about who and how much
to help. Our citizens and the recipients alike see us as
good or stupid depending on their individual viewpoints.

The same problem exists with safety net programs for
our people. Some of us feel we give more than necessary
while workers are struggling with less. Others of us
think we do not do enough for those who really need it.
The argument goes on with both sides using severe
examples to make a point.

Energy, water, environment, privacy, freedom, safety,
military and economy programs are all under review
by politicians and experts. The goal is always a new
set of rules to get us in step with nature and one another.
Marching on to greater things like a big colony of ants.
Unfortunately, the politicians and experts are not as
efficient as ants.

With all this trouble, diversity, difference of opinion,
squealing and squabbling, why are we still the
destination of choice for millions each year? Why
do we have long lines of people moving in and very
few moving away? We don’t guard against exiting.
Basically, anyone who wishes to leave can go.

The love of freedom. It is the one unifying ingredient
that bridges all gaps. It is more important than cultural,
physical or economic differences. It is what turns our
backs into steel and puts us side by side when
threatened. It is what ignites patriotism beyond
anything that can be dictated from behind a gun.

A bit of friendly advice for anyone planning to spoil
life in this big, beautiful place next year. It will be
harder than you think. In the end you may wish you
had made a different decision.

Happy new year. Raise a glass to our American family.

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Ken