By Melanie Spina
President Obama was accused of not loving America. How about you? Do you love America?
Former N.Y.C. Mayor Rudi Giuliani, according to Politico, during a dinner on Feb. 18, said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.” Giuliani’s comment led to an intense debate, which has inspired the Pioneer to ask whether we all really love America?
I received a lot of unclear answers to the question. Most students just answered with “Eh…” while others had to actually think about the question. However Patricia Mygas, a junior Art Therapy major, was clear about how she felt. She recalled the first time she heard the statement that America is the greatest country in the world.
“I was in my sixth grade social studies class with my teacher Mr. Dixon, and I remember arguing with him in confusion,” Mygas said. “I had always thought of countries like people: different with unique backgrounds and histories, but all equal. So the idea that one country was greater than others didn’t really make sense at the time.”
Mygas still stands by this idea, but she doesn’t mean she feels hatred toward her country because of it. “Now that I’m older, I still love my country for the same reasons I did back then, not because it’s the ‘greatest’ or ‘most powerful,’ but because it’s mine,” Mygas said. “It’s the place I have lived my whole life and it’s my home. I love America regardless of how great it is or isn’t.”
A lot of people may not realize that it’s possible to be critical of something you love. To say that someone doesn’t love something just because they might criticize it is ridiculous. Criticism is not necessarily a negative thing; sometimes it is needed to make the thing you love stronger and guide it in the right direction. As Mygas said, “It is quite possible to love something and not be happy with everything it does.”
Not only do Americans feel love for their country, but people from other countries also see America as a place to seek out better opportunities.
“I decided to come to America because I wanted to pursue education and swimming, successfully,” said Seren Jones, a junior English major from Wales. “Back home, I would have had to sacrifice one for the other, and I knew I definitely wasn’t ready for that. So moving out here was my best option.”
Jones doesn’t regret her decision though; she states that she is very happy with her move to America.
“I’ve met some people who are going to stay in my life for many years to come,” Jones said. “I ‘ve also met a lot of different people — some good, some bad, and some ugly — but these experiences with them have made me a more open-minded person, which I’m thankful for.”
Jones couldn’t make up her mind about whether she loved America or her home better or equally. “I much prefer the British culture, but I prefer living in such a large city like New York, in such a large country like America. There is so much here in that aspect,” she said.
Loving America is something that we are taught to do from a young age. People from other countries may see it as the greatest country in the world and may move here with the hope of getting a better life.
Or America may not be the greatest country in the world. There is no such thing; every place has positives and negatives. Acknowledging that your country is not perfect sounds to me more like loving it and accepting its imperfections than pretending that everything is perfect and there is nothing wrong with it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a president who pretends everything is ok. I’d rather have one who sees the problems we have as a nation and does something to try and change this.