Eugene Cho

reasons to appreciate the united states of america

As we mark the “birth” and independence of the United States, I’d like to ask a simple question:

What are the reasons you love and appreciate the United States?

I often find myself in the company of women and men that are more inclined towards the art of deconstruction and cycnism.  We tend to criticize and often harp on the negatives.  The government can do no right. If you’re a christian, we’re often called “enlightened evangelicals” – people that have seen the light and thus, capable and enlightened to be self-proclaimed prophets against the horrible, evil, corrupt, and hypocritical regime of the United States.We tend to say that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Really? 

Do you really believe that?  I don’t.  How about “some dissent is one form of patriotism?”  That’s what I believe.

Ok. I get it.  And I share the beliefs that for a country that has been given so much, we have fallen short.  I know the United States isn’t perfect.  There are things of the past and present that I do not understand; Stuff that embarrasses and angers me.  The perception of the USA around the world is in shambles.  Next week, I’ll share a little bit about the daily demontrations and [peaceful] protests that are going on in Korea because of the Beef Crisis.  Trust me…it’s more than the beef.  And maybe I’m inclined to share this post because I know next week’s post may be a little bit more “critical.”

So, while I’m sure it would attract more comments if the topic was entitled “reasons why you are embarrassed about the United States,” can you take a few moments to share your “reasons why you love and appreciate the United States?”

Why?  Because whether you agree with it or not,  the United States is an amazing nation.

Filed under: politics, religion, ,

24 Responses

  1. The thing I love about the United States is that everyone here has either left their home and bravely traveled to a new land, is a recent descendant of someone who has, or is a native who, against all odds, has endured a crushing and ceaseless invasion of foreigners.

    There’s a deep well of courage here.

    • Jared smith says:

      Um you seem to forget native Americans. Not everyone is a recent descendent of an immigrant my ancestors came here on the mayflower and other ships from England before the American revolution. They fought in that war to create this nation.

  2. Christine says:

    I’m grateful for the freedoms I have here as a woman. What a relief to be able to drive, work, walk in my neighborhood, and sit alone in public without ridicule. I wouldn’t say we’ve achieved total gender equality, but I do appreciate how Americans before me have lobbied and fought for the freedoms I now enjoy.

  3. Tyler says:

    i love that if for some reason my taxes don’t get paid that I cannot be abused in any way.

  4. Jaime says:

    Freedom of Religion!

  5. Randall says:

    I agree with Jaime…

    Actually, I think one of the things that makes America great is the First Amendment in general – freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech.

    The Second Amendment…not so much…although I’m not for a complete ban on guns. Regulation AND enforcement is the way, IMHO.

  6. iRise says:

    I’m not from the United States, but I went to school there… and will be going back to school there within the next month. It’s very different from home (Kuwait)…

    I think the greatest thing about American’s is how friendly they are. I could be walking down the street, or sitting at a coffee shop, and 5…10…15 strangers will say hello, with a smile. You don’t really see this anywhere else in the world (except for Canada maybe)…

    And although the rules can be a little overwhelming at times, you can always, without a doubt, depend on order. Order in the streets (driving anywhere else in the world is INSANITY)…. order in the super markets…. order at an American Football game…

  7. I love the optimism…it’s good soil to plant hope.

  8. emjay says:

    America is a nation built upon ideas–pretty dang good ideas!–and upon the rule of law. Our identity stems not primarily from a shared ethnic heritage but from our commitment to the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. (At least, it’s supposed to!) Can any other nation say the same?

  9. Sue says:

    The fact that students aren’t forced to wear uniforms. 🙂

  10. Kris says:

    I love the opportunities available in this country, for men, women, people of color, etc.

  11. “Next week, I’ll share a little bit about the daily demontrations and [peaceful] protests that are going on in Korea because of the Beef Crisis. Trust me…it’s more than the beef. ”

    I am curious what else it is about?

  12. susamachar says:

    United States of America is the only country, which was founded on Christian Principles . The Founding Fathers of this country believed in God of the Bible and Bible was their guiding book.. I am proud of becoming one of the permanent residents. The country has given me opportunity to grow in my Christian faith and become blessing to others and to my country people. My prayer is that it would continue to hold Christian values and virtues even though there are many in this country who forgotten their history and trying to take this country in other directions. I would continue to remind the citizens and people who come here for good life and freedom, which no other country in this world offer, that they should study the faith of the founding fathers and respect it.

  13. janowen says:

    1) Freedom of Religion – we can gather openly to worship and our right to do so is protected.
    2) Freedom of Speech – we take it for granted that we can speak up and even criticize, we are so used to this right we simply take it for granted and are no longer thankful.
    3) Equality – not perfect in some places but we’re not martyred or killed if we’re different. Again, something we simply take for granted.
    4) Respect of Women and Children – I just read “True Grit” about the vital statistics of women’s issues around the world and it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever read. It was horrible. Thank God I am not treated as property, I have equal rights, I can get a job or live alone, I am not beaten or mutilated or sold into sex slavery and I was not killed for being a baby girl – and if someone did it would be against the law.
    5) Readily available healthcare, clean water, food etc. We’re not fighting typhoid epidemics or starvation.

    I realize many people in the US do not have as much as I do, but it is more normal here to be cared for than in other places that are still developing and in civil unrest and still plagued by patriarchial societal norms.

    There are so many more. Being an American is something I don’t take for granted. I am thankful, thankful, thankful for the liberty I can experience.

  14. Eugene,

    After reading all these comments, I gotta stick with the optimism thing.

    And by the way, you’ve been tagged.

    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi

  15. Jeff Lam says:

    howard zinn made the comment that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” as kind of an off-the-cuff remark, and it’s had some lasting power because it’s catchy and sensational. it also didn’t hurt that howard zinn said it.

    certainly, there are many ways to be patriotic and there isn’t much of a scientific process to ranking them. part of his intent was to point out that (particularly over the past 50 years of american history), the voice of dissent in american politics has been marginalized by being labeled “unpatriotic” or “unamerican.” he argues that if patriotism in america means to uphold the ideals of democracy and the country’s founding documents, then expressing dissent may actually be (as you pointed out) the most patriotic act a citizen can make.

    or in other words, there’s probably not much disagreement here over dissent.

    i love how america often serves as as a refuge for people around the world fleeing oppression and war. it’s amazing to meet recent immigrants from all over who were just running from foot soldiers months before.

  16. I love the tapestry of ethnicities and backgrounds that makes up the United States.

    I too appreciate the freedoms available to women.

    I’m glad I can go and vote for whomever I want, without being harassed or threatened.

    I’m thankful for freedom of the press.

    I’m thankful for freedom of religion.

    And, having visited India, I’m thankful for the general consensus that toilet paper is a good thing!!

  17. P.S. Thanks for keeping it positive. I’m prone to cynicism myself, and I always find your blog refreshing…even when you’re tackling tough issues.

  18. […] reasons to appreciate the united states of americaAs we mark the “birth” and independence of the United States, I’d like to ask a simple question: What are the reasons you love and appreciate the United States? I often find myself in the company of women and men that are more inclined … […]

  19. chad m says:

    as we sang “America the beautiful” in church on Sunday i couldn’t help but realize my internal tension. i love my freedom to worship; to think out loud; to vote; to have received a free education; etc. however, i don’t want to worship these things. i don’t want to sing about these things in church.

    i thank God for the privileges i have as a citizen of this country, but don’t feel i am privileged before God for living in this country. important difference.

  20. joel says:

    Chad,

    that’s a tough one. I’d have a hard time belonging to a community that felt it was appropriate to ‘worship’ the US in church.

    It’s weird, but the stuff people are writing strikes me as odd and at the crux of what the likes of Shane Claiborne are hitting at: we speak with far greater hope and adoration for the US than we do of the cross. We try not to take the US for granted and yet we rest on the grace of Jesus to sustain us as we fail to love our neighbors. I have a hard time expressing an appreciation for something that i feel compels many a christian to love a country over God. Sure, most of us will suggest otherwise, but our actions and our voices ostensibly tell a different tale.

    We are privileged, no doubt about it, but is our faith better for it, or worse?

  21. Melissa says:

    Political/governmental stability.

    I have been kicked out of a country because of regime change, and have traveled in countries which were poor but stable, and watched this year as Kenya burned. I am so thankful for the stability and order which we are able to maintain.

  22. Terra:) says:

    we have our veterans who serve and protect us…….:)

  23. David says:

    I love the United States of America .. Taken care of my family and I .. I love the comments
    God bless

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 2 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 2 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 2 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 4 days ago
  • Father, bless these Iraqi and Syrian refugee children that have already endured so much. As we pray, teach us how t… twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 6 days ago
  • Pray for Iraq. Pray for persecuted Church, minority groups (Yezidis) and Muslims alike who are suffering under ISIS: instagram.com/p/BZF2j6Ngrna/ || 6 days ago