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Vail Daily letter: Something special about Americans

Patrick M. Mitchell
Vail, CO, Colorado

Like Tony Blair, ex-Brit PM, I wasn’t born here, but New Zealanders have always liked Yanks and vice versa.

His new book “A Journey: My Political Life” caught my eye, particularly in light of his observations about Americans in general.

Your assumptions about Brit views of the U.S. might suggest pompous, pseudo reflections about colonial strife prior to formation of your/our



Constitution.

Instead, he appears to be a big fan of the U.S. and its people. He no longer needs diplomatic Brownie points via misdirected flattery, either.



“There is a nobility in the American character that has been developed over the centuries, derived, in part, no doubt, from the frontier spirit, from the waves of migration that form the stock, from the circumstances of independence, from the Civil War, from a myriad of historical facts and coincidences. But it is there.

“That nobility isn’t about being nicer, better, or more successful than anyone else. It is a feeling about the country. It is a devotion to the American ideal that at a certain point transcends class, race, religion or upbringing. That ideal is about values: freedom, the rule of law, democracy. It is also about the way you achieve: on merit, by your own efforts and hard work. But it is most of all that in striving for and protecting that ideal, you as an individual take second place to the interests of the nation as a whole.

“It is what makes the country determined to overcome it’s challenges. It is what makes it’s soldiers give their lives in sacrifice. It is what brings every variety of American, from the lowest, to the highest, to their feet when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is played. Of course, the ideal is not always met – that is obvious.



“But it is always striven for.”

In the midst of electioneering, no matter what your party affiliation, I felt the reminder-message above was right on target however ironic it was that it had to come from a foreigner.

I happen to agree with his observations.

Patrick M. Mitchell


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