With so much to be ashamed of in the news lately, I think it’s important to remember: we have lots of be proud of here, too.
The USA’s nature is second to none; it is well-taken care of, respected, preserved, and enjoyed.
It’s important to recognize the pitfalls of history, and accept that this land doesn’t belong to us. (Especially important with the recent happenings on our southern border). Nonetheless, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have communed with this land, learned from it, and grown up in it.
We all seek our communities, and for me, the community I have found the most welcoming, here in the US, has been the outdoors community. The climbers, skiers, anglers and dirtbags that make the West — all of the West — their home.
This is my America.
Tell me about yours.
Trekking into the unknown, Rocky Mountain National Park
The Flatirons, Boulder, Colorado. Minutes from town.
Miguel’s Pizza, the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. Founded by a Portuguese immigrant. Now, a community institution, and one of the cooler places I’ve ever been. This is America.
Mountaineering on Long’s Peak — Colorado’s most famous mountain. Learning, loving, and playing in nature — not an office. You will never find friendlier people than on a trail in Colorado.
Mere hours before this photo, we met a racist Trump supporter in a side-of-the-road trading post. His support of Hungary’s authoritarian government made Dóra, a liberal Hungarian, quite uncomfortable. Yet, as you can see: Moab convinced her there is something of value here.
This site was sacred to the native Americans. Still is, as the native Americans still exist, on the fringes of our society. Today, it’s a roadside attraction. Little more than a popular Instagram spot. I wish the road didn’t go by it.
Skiing is a rich person’s sport. There’s no denying that. But even with the gentrification, I’m happy for anything that gets people outside, into the fresh air; a reminder of our basic essence.
You don’t have to be a badass skier, climber, or outdoorsman to enjoy the bounties of this country: you just have to be willing to drive a little bit. I hate car culture in the US, but if it’s good for one thing, it’s this. You have no excuse for not accessing this land. There is so much. And if you’re gonna be INTENSELY HYPOCRITICAL about letting foreign people in, the least you could do is take advantage of the bounty you are holding hostage :)
Our direct ancestors have built some things to be proud of, too. Upper West Side, New York City. (These are Trump buildings, actually).
But no matter how impressive the skyscrapers might look, I’ll always, always be a fan of doing things yourself. No matter how small the project.
Now, to answer my own question: yes, America is worth being proud of.
This land is incredible. The people who live on it, for the most part, are welcoming and ingenious. The experiences you can have here are unique, wonderful, and worthwhile.
The USA? As a geopolitical actor?
Let’s just say I’m not sure I’ll be living here forever.