My Adopted Country
by R. Saheb
No story of an immigrant is complete without an acknowledgement of his adopted country. Mine is the United States of America, a country where "all men are created equal, and are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
These sentiments, which once attracted scores of immigrants from the entire world, still play a role in today. Freedom to practice religion or to live one's way of life is as relevant now, as it was a hundred or three hundred years ago. People are still persecuted in their native lands for their beliefs, be it for religion, political or social reasons. This is truly a land where one can live the way one desires, without having to worry about being ostracized or persecuted by the society.
The strong political foundation based in human rights has resulted in an economic system compatible with it, Capitalism. Though the implementation of this economic philosophy is not pure, enough of it exists to lead to prosperity. The opportunities for an individual capable of dreaming and willing to work hard to make it a reality are tremendous. One can not only earn wealth, but do it the moral way! And one is honored for being successful. One can also enjoy one's wealth in myriad ways of indulgence of the body and the mind. One is not expected to disburse the fruits of one's ambition and industry to one's family, to the temple or to the poor.
When I make these claims in a conversation, I am usually treated to a blank and sometimes cynical stare. What on earth is she talking about? Immigrants refuse to admit that it is very difficult to make money in their native country, let alone do it the right way, or that one always has to fulfill another's expectation of how your life should be lived. On the other side of the spectrum are Americans who refuse to admit that America, no matter how morally corrupt they perceive it to be, is still the only place to live one's life ideally. They unfortunately are reeling under ignorance of the conditions that exist in other countries. An error which can be easily forgiven, given that they are mostly good hearted people.
Americans live a full and happy life in this land of plenty. The social issues which excite them do not run deep and affect only a small number of individuals. What runs deep is the satisfaction of being alive! When people choose their way of life, they are happier, even if they have to put in the work in developing ideas as to how they must live it. When people are happier, they treat each other right. This is the one big difference between living in the United States of America and not living in it.
This country lets one live like a human being.
R. Saheb lives in the New York City area.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.