BBC News North American Editor Justin Webb is returning to England after a seven year assignment in the United States. Webb shared his feelings about America in an article posted on the BBC News website. His thoughts paint a picture of America from the outside looking in, and convey a sense of respect and admiration for our country that is seldom heard.
“In more than seven years of life in America, I have come to value-to love, actually-the stolid, sunny, unchallenging, simple virtuousness of the American suburban psyche.”
Webb says that he feels “crazy” to be going back to the “old world.” His five year old daughter Clara (born in the U.S.) has informed him that she plans to leave home and return to her “native” land…when she turns twelve.
By no means does Webb think that America is perfect. “...For all the ugliness, the deadening tawdriness of much of the American landscape and the tinny feebleness of many of its politicians- for all that nastiness and shallowness and flakiness- there is no question in my mind that to live here has been the greatest privilege of my life.”
Webb offers an interesting comparison with India to America. “The immensity of America, the energy and the zest for life remind me sometimes of India. And as with India, where I spent some time for the BBC, America shines a light on the entire human condition.”
“Few other nations really do. Italy reveals truths about Italians, Afghanistan about Afghans, Fiji about Fijians. But America speaks to the whole of humanity because the whole of humanity is represented here; our possibilities and our propensities.”
Mr. Webb leaves us with the thought that, “There is something about the carelessness of America that gives space for greatness.”
It’s somewhat refreshing to hear someone write and say something positive about the United States. As for Webb’s comment about the “carelessness of America giving space for greatness,” perhaps it’s just another way to say that freedom works, and, that the American Experiment is worth having.