Here are my personal Top 10 things that are still cool about America:

Here”s the video version for those who don’t care to read:

Land of Dreams – I’m not saying it’s the land where dreams come true – but it is a land where you can try anything. Whatever you want to be, you can be. That doesn’t mean you’ll excel at it. Success is not guaranteed in America – but if you want to try to be something you’re not, you can get an education,  work hard, cultivate connections, chase your passions and give it your best shot.

It’s a Big Interesting Country – America is massive. The state I live in (North Carolina) is about 54,000 square miles – larger than many entire countries – and it’s still just a medium-sized state among the 50 states in America. You have mountains, plains, deserts, canyons, gorgeous coasts, fertile valleys, lake-lands, fjords, lush islands, tundra, caverns and much more. You have a broad variety of cities – all influenced by different cultures with their unique personalities. You have awesome villages and communities, all with their good points and bad points – but pretty much everywhere you go there’s way more to love than to dislike. You could spend three lifetimes trying to experience all there is to see and do in America.

It’s a land of great resources – Gas is way cheap in America compared to most of the rest of the world.  Our country is rich in natural resources and minerals. We have great farmlands and growing systems and technology. Food is abundant, housing isn’t hard to come by, healthcare (a little messed up) but still adequate. You can go to schools and universities to better yourself in America. There’s solid infrastructure. You can travel interstate highways to move freely across the country and ship resources from place to place. We have decent and varied weather. Wind, sunshine and moving water provide power to keep us going. All this and more makes America a fairly cheap place to live. We are blessed to have most of the stuff we need to maintain a decent lifestyle, right here in our own country.

It’s a country of Innovation – In America we invent a lot of stuff. It’s a freedom thing, I think. If you live in a place where you can dream big – you develop a mindset that you can create big. America is still where much of the world’s cool technology originates – from aircraft to iPads, Stratocasters and Les Pauls to Fords and Chevys, from hotdogs and hamburgers to light bulbs and skateboards – Americans are always coming up with crazy cool stuff. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world doesn’t take it and make it better – that’s often the case. And innovation is happening all over the planet – but in America it’s expected, constantly, daily. In the late 1960’s we landed on the moon – when we honestly probably had half the skill and knowledge we should have had to achieve such a task. In America we push the boundaries and limits. You never know what awesome new something will come down the pike that will change your life here. That is very cool!

It’s a land where you can believe what you want to believe – I’m a Christian Baptist – not because I was told to be, or taught to be – just because my studies and experiences have led me to be. But in America you won’t be condemned for being Moslem, Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu or anything else. And this isn’t just religious thought I’m talking about. You can be liberal, conservative, independent – gay, straight, bisexual – a curmudgeon or a goody-two-shoes, a philosopher or a pragmatist . . . It all works together here. Not everyone agrees of course. America is legendary for bickering, fussing and debating issues and politics and points of view – but at the end of the day, the vast majority of us get along and get on with our lives. Many of the people we disagree with most fervently are still our friends.  When we need to pull together, we help, regardless of differences. We live and die for one another – and for our right to express what we think and believe.

It’s a land where hard work pays off – Short and sweet, this point. In America, by the grace of God, you can roll up your sleeves and with perseverance and sound, sensible life decisions – you can live a good life. Sometimes it takes some education, sometimes some luck, more than often it’s just sticking to a goal – but you can succeed in SOMETHING here if you have the right attitude. There are no guarantees. Not everyone can win a lottery or have vast wealth fall in their lap – but in this country, effort brings rewards. Investments pay dividends – and even the worst of situations don’t squash the hope for a better tomorrow.

It’s a safe country – America gets a bad rap in the media. Anytime something very negative or tragic happens, it is quickly sensationalized. We have some crazy, unbalanced people that sometimes get ahold of guns and go on a killing spree – but this is far, far from the norm in America. Compared to the horrific atrocities that occur in some countries, America is a place where you can sleep sound and secure at night. You can move around the country knowing that you have fine dedicated people in law enforcement, keeping the peace. Now if you want to go looking for trouble in America, you can find it. Most of the crime statistics that are reported in our media, take place because of people who are making poor live choices – largely drug related – but if you choose to live a good upstanding life you can do so in most portions of our country. Gangs are problematic in some of our urban areas – but you never hear of crazy dictators slaughtering thousands, or crazed fanatic groups raping and pillaging. You don’t hear about mass kidnappings or violent uprisings. Also, apart from the occasional wildfire, hurricane, tornado, mudslide or earthquake, America seems geologically pretty stable. So far no massive tidal waves, no monsoon floods, no Chernobyl-type nuclear or industrial disasters. We are greatly blessed to have a nice comfortable and safe place to live.

There’s something for everyone here – It’s nice to live in a land with lots of opportunities to do stuff. If you are looking for fun hobbies, adventure or stimulating activities, America has the locations, culture and spirit to satisfy your itch. You can skate, climb, ski, fly, hike, drive, bike, dance, sing, skip, swim, read, sculpt, paint, write, play and explore, all over this great land. We have great weather most of the time, lots of state and national parks – great restaurants and gathering places. Whatever you’re into, you should be able to pursue in America. Now if you want to climb Mt. Everest or dive at the great barrier reef – you’re out of luck – but there are still many great mountains and coral reefs here too. So we don’t have it all – but there’s plenty of fun to be had here in the USA.

It’s a land of great people – For the most part, Americans are nice. Whether it’s New York City or Flagstaff, Arizona . . . a West Virginia mining town or a Seattle Fish market – from Hawaii to Maine, Americans are mostly positive, friendly, helpful and generous people. It’s our greatest resource. There are always good and bad people everywhere – but day-in-day-out I’m continually delighted by folks I encounter. It doesn’t matter what their background, income level, disposition – there’s always more to like than not. We are diverse, but thankful – not overly proud or puffed up. We are a caring and soulful lot. It’s a place where if you want to make a difference in the lives of others, you have the opportunity. We can always love each other more – but at least we seem to respect and like each other and that makes for a great life in this big melting pot.

Freedom – A great songwriter called us “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”. The word freedom gets thrown around almost flippantly here in America – but many of my other top ten cool things about America largely hinge on the fact that we have great freedoms here in the USA. Our founding Fathers (and I’m sure the Mothers had great influence) – those guys had amazing foresight into how a government should be formed to preserve the rights and dignity of human beings. Many people here say our rights are being eroded – and they may be correct in some instances – but America still clings to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and amid all the controversies and complexities of governing a big nation – somehow our leaders and people who elect them seem to keep freedom at the forefront. You can still rock in America – you can still speak your mind, chase your dreams, test your ambitions, leave your mark. Happy Independence Day America! God bless and keep our lands. Let’s be a blessing to the world, and make friends of all. Let’s appreciate what we have – and share it when we can. There are many great nations on this amazing planet. Let’s celebrate the fact that we can count our country one of the best!