Opinion: Fortunate to be born in the U.S.A.

By LOUIS BREAKFIELD,

Sometimes I forget just how fortunate I am to have been born in the United States of America. I think any resident of the USA is just as lucky as I.

I watched the Miss USA competition last Monday night. Broadcast from Louisiana. My pick of the final three, Miss Nebraska, won the title.

As I was watching, I noticed, as most men probably did, that several of the contestants wore what can be described as “translucent” dresses. That is, they were not exactly see-through, but not exactly opaque either.

Later, I decided that these women would not be allowed to wear such dresses on any occasion had they been unfortunate enough to be born in a Muslim country where they would be forced to cover their bodies and hair. I believe such dress is called a hijab.

In line with that is the 155 countries that have at least one law that impedes economic opportunities for women. Women are lucky to have been born or immigrated to this country.

And don’t play the “race card.” Blacks in this country, long separated from the Motherland of

Africa, are far better off than if they lived in countries where there is government discrimination.

Blacks are advised from travel to such places as Russia, outside Moscow, eastern Germany, Greece and Spain among others. Racial discrimination is rampant in those countries.

Openly gay people are lucky to live in this country. There are at least 74 countries around the world that either have laws against gays or rampant opposition to homosexuals among the populace.

Some of those countries are: Indonesia, Egypt, India, Iran and Iraq.These, among others, are countries where bloodshed might accompany a Gay Pride parade.

I happened to be awake at five A.M. Saturday morning and I proceeded,  out of boredom, to watch the entire “Royal Wedding” from our allied country of England. Windsor Castle to be more precise. Although I was not in the least interested in the wedding of Prince Henry and Megan, I sat through almost the entire thing.

(In my opinion the cellist and the American preacher over-extended their alloted time by far.) The 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth II must have been very tired at the end of the long-winded ceremony.

As a bit of trivia for those who watched, the empty chair in front of the Queen was not a tribute to Henry’s mother, Princess Diana. It is customary for the seat in front of the Queen to remain empty.

It hit me that there are places in the world where it would be impossible to watch television at that hour of the morning. There are at least 25 countries with no television at all, including the Vatican City.

Most places in the USA can get a television signal 24 hours a day. That means, if we don’t need much sleep, we can watch something on the tube round the clock. But, for the grace of God, any one of us could have been born on one of those little islands that have no television.

I was born into a farm family in 1949. We were  poor, but my dad put food on the table and kept a roof over our heads by working as a plumber and electrician. This was in addition to raising a few head of cattle and tending a substantial garden.

When  I was a youngster, we could get only three or four television stations, and we were on a party line for telephone service.

However, farm life was far from boring. Sure, there was work year round from picking and shelling peas and butterbeans in the summer to tending cattle in the winter.

For fun, there was a creek adjoining our property that I fished year round and swam in during the summer months. I can well remember being banned from the “swim hole” until all the peas were shelled on the front porch.

As a boy, I wondered often if my city-dwelling classmates had it better than I. After thoughtful reflection in later years, I decided that indeed they did not. I reasoned that we were all lucky to have been born in the greatest country in the world.

If you don’t feel the same about yourself, do a little research on your computer or in your local library on other countries. You will find that we are indeed very fortunate to have been born in this country.

 

Louis Breakfield of Petal is a former editor of The Columbian-Progress and The Magee Courier. Breakfield also taught high school for 25 years.