American Experience…

I was surfing through social media today when i happened upon an article posted by my friend. The article was about President Obama and commended him for the personal touch that he has been able to bring to his Presidency. Posting the article was an act of appreciation of how the President has gone about his business. After my friend had posted the article it did not take long before someone came back at him for having posted. People are so sensitive about their politics!

The person said that my friend (a resident of Northern Ireland) might feel differently about President Obama’s administration if he lived in USA and experienced personally the decline that has happened in USA.

As one who is from Northern Ireland but lives in USA, I felt the need to respond. Once I got going I rambled on a bit. Below is the text of what I said:

I am one who was born and brought up in Northern Ireland but who now lives in America. I experience a country which has vastly changed in the last 15 years. I experience a country in which ordinary people seem to be very angry and somewhat hurt/let down by those who govern them at local, state and federal level. I also experience a country which is gripped by fear – a fear which is fed by media and the 24 hour news cycle, and which has led to a wide spread suspicion of ‘the other.’

I experience a country in which many people seem to blame President Obama for the failings which they perceive to be taking place. This blaming of the President fascinates me because USA is not governed by a single individual or office, it is governed by many elected and appointed individuals who, more often than not, appear en mass to behave like petulant children.

I experience a country where individuals run rampant with weapons of destruction in the most unlikely of places: schools, churches, public buildings.

But I also experience a great country which appears to have forgotten how good things actually are:

While many politicians do behave like petulant children, there are also others who are working tirelessly for the benefit of their constituents – I myself have experience amazing support from my local Congressman and Senator in the midst of an immigration issue.

People have the right to free speech.

A free press operates.

According to US Dept. of Health and Human Services, an estimated 20 million more people have health coverage in 2016 than did in 2010.

Americans are still the most hospitable and generous people I know – aside of the Northern Irish/Irish 😉

Everyone has the right to marry.

Teenage Pregnancy is at an all time low, according to CDC

I lived in USA from 2003 to 2006 in the Bush administration, and I have been back living there since 2013 in the Obama administration. I do see a great differences in how I experience things in the USA in those times. But in as much as there seems to be so much in decline, there is still so much that remains great about America.

I am a fan of President Obama. I think he set targets for his administration and despite much opposition has managed to see many of them come about. Is he perfect? No way. Has any president been perfect? Will the history books reflect well on his presidency? Time will tell.

In the mean time, I am going to enjoy the remainder of his presidency because I strongly believe that this time next year we will all be looking back and thinking that we did not know how good the thing we had was until it was gone.

Later that day, one of the members of my congregation got in touch to say that she had read what I wrote and enjoyed it. She asked if I would post it on my own Social Media feed. I refuse to do that because I do not feel it is the best place for a local pastor to air political thoughts – even though there is nothing controversial in the above.

So I decided to share it here.

I hope it helps!