On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and created a new country that’s still an experiment in mixing democracy, state rights, federal power, capitalism and market control. Warts and all, the experiment continues to provide something special and unique.
Those of us who had the fortune to be born in the USA may take our blessings for granted, and we’ve got legitimate gripes about how our country is run. But let’s not wallow in guilt or nihilism. At least today, let us celebrate what we have.
Indeed, every day thousands of people leave their homelands and come to the United States seeking opportunity they’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. We live in a town that’s populated by about fifty percent immigrants, and if those guys have taught me anything it’s that we have something special, they want it, and those of us who already have what they’re after should appreciate it.
Yet aside from our political and economic system, what makes America truly great is our combination of freedom combined with a vast inventory of resources and public land. We’ve got the goods and the freedom to use them, mostly without crowds and without onerous regulations or corrupt officials to deal with. More, when we recreate we do so with the benefit of a civilized and usually law abiding culture. In other words, we might encounter a bear on the trails, but bandits probably won’t be a problem.
I like all that, appreciate it, and do not take it for granted. Happy birthday America.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.