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To all the naysayers, protestations to the contrary, I want “y’all” to know how deeply impressed I am with America.
I have often said many of the problems which have surfaced among the American people recently are rooted in a lack of knowledge of the country in which they live. People have a tendency to judge all by their immediate surroundings. If they live in an area where violence is prevalent, they tend to assume that is the norm and often times react and/or judge accordingly. People who live all their lives in the confines of a particular social arena tend to project that viewpoint on the world at large.
One of the solutions is exposure to a different environment. If one were to spend most of their spare time watching television and CNN-type programming, they could easily be convinced that America is not the incredibly dynamic, accepting land of opportunity it, in fact, is. There have to be reasons why the overwhelming majority of people, given half a chance, will leave their native countries and flock to America. The reasons are manifestly evident to anyone who has ever spent any time outside the USA (not counting vacation time in luxury resorts).
I grew up 45 miles from the Mexican border, so I had ample time and opportunity to observe firsthand the origin of the influx of Mexican illegals. As a member of the U.S. Air Force, I had the opportunity (which I cherish now) to visit several countries around the world. I spent time in the Middle East, Central and South America and Europe. Later, as a member of an international TV broadcast team, I visited the Philippines, Africa and the Caribbean, as well. (For the record, I did not reside in luxury villas or hotels with room service and giant TV screens while in those countries.) Keep in mind, I am not comparing the rich with the rich – they live well wherever they reside. I am comparing citizen to citizen. Understand, I am not being unduly critical of those countries, I am simply pointing out the almost unimaginable differences between America and most of the rest of the world.
In America, for example, if you saw a husband, wife and three children (not in exercise suits) walking down a back road or along a major highway, the immediate thought of 90 percent of Americans would be, “I wonder what happened to their car?” Americans do not walk from city to city or from suburbs to town. The truth is, American children own more cars, motorcycles and motor scooters than the majority of adults in Third World countries.
Poverty in America? Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2012, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and other benefits, the average U.S. household below the poverty line received $168 a day in government support. The median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day. To put it another way, being on welfare now pays the equivalent of $30 an hour for a 40-hour week, while the average job pays $20 an hour.
Which brings me to this past week.
I just returned from a trip to a state I had never visited before, South Dakota. I flew into and landed in Minneapolis, Minn., then was picked up and driven to Brookings, S.D. Next time you fly somewhere in the U.S., get a window seat and look out at the incredibly varied landscape below. Besides bustling cities, there is a vast amount of uninhabited land in almost every state.
When you fly over Minnesota and South Dakota, you have to be impressed with the number of acres dedicated exclusively to farming, with occasional homes dotting the landscape. Driving down the highway, you see miles and miles of miles and miles! As far as the eye could see were rolling landscapes with fields full of corn, soybeans and a multitude of food plants. Silos, barns, small towns with truck stops and huge farm implements dealerships, grain transports, truck and train, parked roadside and thousands of power-generating wind turbines.
There and back, everywhere we stopped people, male and female, were friendly, helpful and supportive. (And incidentally, if anyone noticed I was black, there was absolutely no evidence of it.) This was heartland America, where violent crime per 100,000 ranks South Dakota 46th out of 50 states; North Dakota is 49th.
Maybe the solution to many of our “anti-America” problems is to simply let Americans see the real America with their own eyes, not the jaundiced eyes of the media elite and professional agitators.
As the plane took off for Virginia from Minneapolis, I looked out the window at the “land of the free and home of the brave” and all I could think of was, “God has blessed America! Thank you, God, for letting me be born here!”