I slept and dreamt
That life was joy.
I awoke and saw that
Life was service.
I acted and behold,
Service was joy.
~ Rabindranth Tagore
Okay...I gotta poke fun at my homeland. Make no doubt, I'm happy about my American upbringing. I wouldn't have it any other way. But, you know...you can't see the picture if you're in the frame...
Right now, we have various media political talking heads that scare the American people into thinking we are headed into Socialism since President Obama has taken office. They tout the fact that we may...(gasp!)...become like Sweden. This I find amusing, since I'm in the country they speak of. Very ironic.
Now, let me clarify, my reasons for relocation have nothing to do with being deeply unsatisfied with the United States. Not at all. The reasons are solely because my boyfriend is Swedish. However, I must admit, once getting a feel the country of Sweden, especially the city of Stockholm, I have to say, it adds the icing to an already lovely, delicious cake. The cake being my boyfriend, of course. This place rocks on so many levels.
For one, Sweden is a country where basic freedoms are no different to our own in the States. If anything, this country is highly Americanized, with the exception of having many successful socialized programs.
A country that offers free elementary to higher education, health care, ten weeks paid vacation a year, and 16 months paternity leave per child, that can be split between both parents, let me ask...do these sound like such awful things? Sounds like progress. What do we have to be afraid of?
With that being said, something must be working because the literacy rate is 99%, and Sweden has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, along with having one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world. Hmmmm...something must be working. I just call it like I see it.
Today, Forbs.com posted the Worlds 20 Best Places to Live based on several distinct criteria. Surprisingly, with Forbs being an American outlet, not ONE U.S. city made the list. Not one. In North America, alone three cities came from Canada, and the rest from Australia, New Zealand, and Europe...with Germany having the most cities, and Stockholm rounding out the list at number 20.
I state these facts not as a criticism, but as a way of saying we have room for improvement, and shouldn't be scared by the world Socialism. If anything, there are those who are making it into a bad word to harbor fear...and I say, don't fall for it. There is always something to be learned, and we can no longer ride on the coat tails of simply saying we are the leading nation in the world while we're being beaten in several key areas, not even making the top ten in others...there needs to be action. Fear only paralyzes, and nothing gets done as our fears grow.
Just as countries, like Sweden, have taken many great things from America, we too can look toward other nations. We can learn something from a nation that hasn't been in a war in over 200 years. That says something. That's not a weakness. That's a strength.
Once we get a grasp, on a deeper level, when one person suffers we all do, we can then not become fearful of taking care of each other. Dunno. Call me crazy...but, I think it's crazy not to come to terms with the possibility of a Win Win situation for the whole. Nothing will be lost. We can only gain from this way of thinking.
Think about it.