At Christmastime we give presents to those we love. So, if you love America, what are you giving her this year?
Men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are giving her their blood, sweat and tears. Some are giving her their lives or limbs. Their mothers, fathers, spouses and children are giving her their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Every family in service to America at home and abroad this Christmas, at the very least, is giving her their time.
If you’re not one of these Americans, what can you give her? Of course, if you’re a taxpayer, you could write a check, slip it in a Christmas card, and mail it to the Internal Revenue Service with a note saying, “Merry Christmas, here’s a little something extra.”
If you’re one of those people who receive regular entitlement checks from an agency of the U.S. government, you could send this month’s check back with a note. “Dear Sir or Madam; please use this money to help pay down the $13 trillion national debt; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
The U.S. government, however, not to be confused with America, is her executor; and it taxes and spends far more than it should on her behalf. It hasn’t demonstrated recently that it would use your gift in her best interest.
No, sending money to the government, or anything tangible for that matter, isn’t a good idea. Anything tangible you give it isn’t a “gift” to America. It may benefit her indirectly, but it’s not the same as giving her a gift.
And, if you are going to give her a gift, you have to give her something special. Remember, she’s exceptional, she’s beautiful, and she’s generous. Considering all she’s done for you, you have to give her something that demonstrates your love and appreciation and that she will appreciate. You can only give her that kind of a gift by honoring those who honor her or by giving her something of yourself.
You can honor those individuals who honor her by sending a gift of time or money to charities that take care of wounded warriors and their families. You can make a contribution to organizations that send packages to warriors in Iraq an Afghanistan. You can contribute to organizations like the USO. It provides hospitality rooms at airports and train stations for traveling servicemen and women and organizes entertainment troupes for the military overseas. There are many such worthy causes.
If you know of a service member serving abroad whose family is living in your community, you can take the time to help and look out for them. At the very least, you can stop a man or woman in a military uniform and thank them for their service to America. By giving them the gift of your appreciation, you give a gift to her.
You can take a more active interest in your community; play a more active role in local, state, and national politics; and support candidates that you believe will best serve America. This means not just voting for them but supporting their campaigns with your time and money. It means making sure that the people serving in government truly love America, believe in her, and want to make her a better country, not just line their pockets and those of their constituents.
Beyond this, you can do what everyone who loves someone should always do — make sure you truly know and understand America and help others do the same. That’s always been difficult to do because so many people want to tell you what to believe, and what they tell you too often suits their own purposes. The American history taught in our schools and universities is distorted by political correctness. What passes for American history in motion pictures is routinely inadequate, if not deliberately deceptive. News stories and opinion commentary about America are filled with spin.
If you truly want to understand America, you have to make an effort. You have to go to original sources. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America are good places to begin. The doors they open will lead you to many more. As much as any gift you could give her this Christmas, a commitment to better know and understand her is one she always appreciates.
If you haven’t thought about or decided on your Christmas gift for America yet, you need to hurry; time’s running out. And be sure that whatever you give America this Christmas, it’s from the heart.
Ed Ross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of EWRoss International LLC, a company that provides global consulting services to clients in the international defense marketplace. He publishes commentary at EWRoss.com.