It is a popular meme on the right that America is not only the greatest nation on earth, but is the envy of all and a coveted destination for the downtrodden the world over.
I am not going to get into an argument as to the merit of the first or second clauses up there, but what I have to say is about the third. A meme popped up on Facebook a while ago. Here it is:
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly!
If one takes the position that America has always been a coveted destination, there is one overwhelming reason why, and it is that we are a nation of laws. We are one of the few nations in the world today which can boast, from the beginning of our existence, that every single exchange of power from one Party to another took place peacefully. No matter how hostile the feelings between them, no matter how high the emotions would get, we've always done it right - with hands on a book, and not on guns.
Our country has taken seriously the one overriding task one can ask of a government - the keeping of the peace. Without peace, business cannot operate, citizens cannot raise families, kids cannot go to school. Chaos reigns. If you have any questions about what this country would look like without a strong central government, look at Somalia and multiply that by about a thousand. Our population would plummet, our standard of living would drop like a rock, the dollar would be worth, if we were extremely lucky, a plug nickel, if it were worth anything at all.
But, thanks to the rule of law, that is a bad dream.
Notice I said, the rule of law. I didn't say by the rule of the gun. We've done it by the rule of law.
Yeah, somebody is going to pop up and claim that the gun was critical to the law being able to stand up and be strong. That's true. Nothing is perfect, and nothing is easy. But in the end, when the men with the guns put them in their holsters and hit that saloon, it's the lawyers and the judges who take over and make it all work.
It is the willingness of the vast majority of Americans, from every walk of life, from every ethnic group on the planet, from just about every other country on the planet, who stand together and simply obey the law, no guns needed. It is why the thin blue line that protects us from the criminals and the lawless is just that, a thin line. We don't need cops on every corner, shouldering machine guns. We just need that thin line of brave men and women being willing to lay their lives on the line to keep it sane.
It is why this nation is shocked to the core when a guy walks into an elementary school and kills 27 people, including twenty kids. Were we a nation of guns, nobody would be shocked at the shooting. We'd be shocked that the guards failed to stop the shooting!
The difference is what makes this country great.