If you’ve been keeping up with “The Newsroom,” passed by a newsstand or even filled up your tank in the last six to eight years, you know that America has had its share of missteps. Sometimes we may even feel that the only thing we’ve got going for us is our extensive value menus and our can-do attitude, but we also have another policy in this great nation of ours: When it’s your birthday, you get a free pass.
Why is the Fourth of July different from all other days? On this day we truly love America. So in case your memory has faded or you’re foreign to the wonders of this oft-woeful country, remember this: free refills.
Yes, Europe may have a slightly better exchange rate, less gun violence and no sales tax, but we have free refills so that when you order your Coke for $1.50, you know that’s all you’ll pay to not see the bottom of your plastic cup until all the hot wings are finished. The constantly flowing high fructose corn syrup may seem a triviality, but when the heat is hot and you’ve got a date to impress at the local barbecue, that stream of ice-cold comfort is all you’ve got. And that’s America.
This country is almost always there for you, but sometimes it’s not. We were raised to think America was all apple pie and handjobs, and we got to college and realized how messed up this country can be. I don’t need to rattle off statistics to make the point that when you dreamed of being president as a kindergartener, you probably weren’t thinking about the fact that when you finally turned 18, your vote wouldn’t even count that much anyway. Sometimes the Coke is flat.
But they’ll keep bringing it as long as you’ll keep drinking. And that’s America. There’s always room for improvement in this great country of ours, as with many things. And if Advanced Placement U.S. History taught you anything, it’s that the only thing we can do about this country is change it. And we can, and we will. As sure as the sight of that topped-off, buzzy Cola marching towards our table, we can change America.
Excuse me, that first-person plural implied that we are all cut of the red-white-and blue, star-spangled and stripe-sodden cloth. Perhaps you were raised that America was just bland, the enemy or the jock in the locker room who thinks he can tape your buns together with no punishment. Indeed America is all of those, but your internationality grants you no exemption. “I let my haters be my motivators,” as America always says.
What makes this night different from all another nights? We are not black. We are not white. We are American. We are not Christians or Jews, not Sikhs or FSMers. We are only American. We are not Republicans or Democrats, we are not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. We are Americans. We are not even Stanford students. We are Americans.
And so what if you can see the Great Wall of China from space? Don’t forget who put the first man there (America). So swallow up, señors, and enjoy another one from the tap.
Sasha Arijanto ’14 is an American Studies major, which either makes her extremely qualified to write this article, or journalistically unethical.