“America is thumos”.
Or: “They have guns, you know.”
On a slightly more serious note, persuing my archive of stored articles I ran across one pertinent to that “metric” question, one reminiscent of That Sumbitch Ain’t Been BORN! It’s an OpinionJournal column from July of 2004 entitled Go Ahead, Call Us Cowboys, and I enthusiastically recomend you take a few minutes and read it.
We made this trip in the first week of July. The “Canada Day” celebrations that took place in Stewart on July 1 were very vanilla. They included a “jaws of life” rescue equipment demonstration, a Name the Babies Contest, and the Annual Community Potluck Dinner in the early evening.
Three days later on July 4, Hyder spiced its national celebration with dashes of politically incorrect cayenne. There was an Ugly Vehicle Contest featuring pickups held together with duct tape and decorated with moose antlers (unlike the shiny ones in the driveways). There were parades of children with pets, toy guns and cowboy costumes. There was a Wilderness Woman Contest. Contestants raced to split wood, wash clothes, shoot a bear, flip pancakes, change a baby, and put on lipstick. The winner did it all barefoot.
Even Hyderites recognize their limits–in an earlier year’s self-staged July 4 fireworks display, they had accidentally burned down their fire hall with the fire engine inside. So this year Hyder hired Canadian experts to stage the pyrotechnics. The show started around midnight, during the late evening barbecue. Stewart residents courteously joined in the fun, bringing new government trucks and a poodle.
The telling bit, though, is in the comments on the piece:
Running With the Right Team
Andrew de Villiers – Denver, Colo.
Thank you for such a well written article on a subject I hold dear to my heart. I immigrated to the U.S. 18 years ago, and your words painted a picture of all the reasons why I was so drawn to America.
There was no other country I wanted to live in, to be a part of, to create a family, to serve, to work and to promote. Growing up in Zimbabwe, I was a product of British colonialism and all its awkward stiffness.
How liberating it was for me, a bull-headed and confident 18 year old when I landed on these shores, alone but bold, totally unfamiliar with American society but confident I would be accepted.
I love this country, my country, where your attitude and desire to better yourself is rewarded. We don’t care where you came from, or where you started, we care where you finish. If life is a race, I’m on the right team!
Damned straight. Note the emphatic we. Cowboy up!
The best part? The authors of the piece are Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Andrew Kleinfeld and his wife. Justice Kleinfeld wrote one of the excellent dissents in the Silveira v. Lockyer decision that I’m so fond of quoting.