This I Believe

Charles (Chuck) - Gibsonia, Pennsylvania
Entered on November 22, 2006

Over the course of my relatively short life, I’ve seen unbelievable anger between groups of Americans. Some of the anger was over the color of one’s skin. The anger would occasionally boil over to violence and even bloodshed. I’ve seen anger at children’s sporting events. The participants rarely exhibited anger. The childish parents were usually angry over perceived slights, officials’ calls or a coach’s decision. I’ve seen voters’ anger when they discovered that most of their fellow citizens failed to realize the obvious superiority of the losing candidate. I’ve seen anger when a driver is pulled over for a speeding ticket even though the police officer knows that the speed limit is only for those who don’t know how to handle a car.

I’ve seen anger over a judge’s decision, over the fact that a fellow motorist would dare pass you, over being bumped from a flight, over a minute’s wait for one’s restaurant check. I’ve even seen anger over the fact that an elderly citizen could not pull change quickly from her purse at a grocery store or actually comes to a complete stop at a stop sign.

It would seem that the result of the all of America’s anger would eventually rip her apart. At time it seems silly to think that I believe that America may be the most civilized country in the world. I believe that this is true now and that we are the most civilized country ever to grace the world’s surface.

I don’t mean civilized in the sense that we use proper etiquette or that we are all well versed in classic literature. Our civilized behavior goes much deeper than that. Only in unusual circumstances do we let our anger and similar emotions govern the way that we treat our fellow citizens.

We all know that our particular Christian, Jewish or Muslim denomination holds God’s chosen people but we still have as friends those who have not yet seen the light. Only in a civilized nation can this occur.

Based on my belief that we are civilized, as long as I’m in America:

I believe that I can travel anywhere and find a safe place to rest.

I believe that when in a new town, someone will help me find my way to a good place to eat.

I believe that if I have made a wrong turn someone will help me head back in the right direction.

I believe that if I bring a sick child to a hospital, I’ll get help.

I believe that when I cast my vote, it will count.

I believe that I’ll be welcome in any house of faith I visit.

I believe that when I approach a law enforcement officer, he will return the respect I show him.

I believe that we can trust our military leaders.

I believe in our judicial system.

I believe that we’ll come to our fellow citizens needs when disaster strikes.

I believe that we’ll never revolt in the streets over the results of an election.

And most importantly, I believe that as a nation we’ll continue to pass our civilized behavior from one generation to the next for many generations to come.