There’s nothing we love more than crowding around and criticizing America. We’ve all heard the classic  “They’re a bunch of imperialist pigs!” or maybe the vintage  “They’re arrogant!”. I’m not saying these things aren’t true. America is about as bellicose as they come and there have been times where they’ve been breath breathtakingly cavalier. What I disagree with is the tone of the people that say these types of things. They talk as if we don’t the USA. They’re wrong.

Make no mistake, we need America. Don’t believe me? Look around your house and count the things made possible by American innovation. When I say American innovation I don’t just mean them inventing something from scratch. Take the automobile for example. The car wasn’t invented in America but it was where it’s manufacture was revolutionized. It was the American  “get big fast” disposition which made it possible for cars to transition from luxury items to a family essential. What’s that? You just crashed in that selfsame car? You need to get cut out of the wreckage before you bleed to death? Well better go grab the jaws of life and pry you out of that flaming wreckage. You got an American  named George Hurst to thank for the the jaws of life that just saved your ass. You get my point.

I think I should explain what I mean when I say we need America. I am speaking specifically about that American attitude. The attitude that has zero respect for impossibility. America has been the birthplace of vicissitude because of a spirit of enterprise that has no equal. There is no better contemporary example of this than Avatar (I know James Cameron is actually Canadian but he’s a naturalized American citizen so cut me a break). James Cameron came up with the idea of Avatar in 1996. He pitched and was told by movie studios that making this movie is an impossibility. It can’t be done. Instead pussying out and compromising on his vision James Cameron basically sat in wait for a decade and waited until it was possible. When I say sat in wait I actually mean he went and he pioneered 3D technology. The rest as they say is history, out popped the most expensive “The Smurfs” movie ever.

Whether you liked Avatar or not, you’ve gotta respect Cameron’s mindset. It’s not an unique mindset, however, it’s one that flows throughout America like a giant river consisting entirely out of 20 dollar bills. When Americans start a small business they’re goal isn’t to just stay afloat or to consolidate, they want to get big. When Sam Walton started Wal-Mart in 1962 he didn’t say “Aw shucks I sure would like to be able to afford to send my kids to university one day”. He was determined to become the biggest retailer in the World.

I can hear people asking “This is all super but I don’t see how we need Uncle Sam.” Well, let me explain. The world is like a giant ship. On this metaphorical ship different countries fulfill different roles (I imagine that Barbados would be the deck chairs), some more important than others. The role that America would fulfill on this ship is that of the engine. That big, bad oil guzzling bastard that drives the whole thing forward. What I mean by my overly simple allegory is that if America didn’t do what it does we’d be lost; a big hulking ship going absolutely nowhere.

I’m not against criticizing America but I am against completely losing a sense of perspective when doing so. Sure, the American Empire might not last forever but it doesn’t change that it was the one that pushed us toward progress in its typically garish and inconsiderate way. The truth is we need America. We did then, we do now and we probably will for a long time into the future. The need to be vigilant of America is a real one but it isn’t an excuse to be completely ungrateful for the things America has done to benefit us.

Seriously, just learn to say thanks.