3,531,905.43 square miles.
That is roughly the area that makes up the United States of America. We are certainly not the biggest single nation but we are also not the smallest. Last night, I flew over the section of the country between Atlanta and Pittsburgh on my way home from a business trip.
The night was mostly clear which was surprising considering the snow storms happening around the same area. I have flown more miles than I can remember across this country and around the world. What always takes my breath away is how vast the lights are from that height.
Near the large cities, clusters of lights shine like Christmas decorations gone completely mad. I try to imagine what lies below in those clusters. Large marshaling yards are located near Atlanta bathed in bright lights. Completed cars sit waiting for their trips on trains and trucks to dealers around the country. Nearby distribution centers have buildings filled goods and materials that Americans will need to make other things.
The roads are outlined with static lights but made alive by the streaming flow of cars and trucks making their way to their destinations. Its especially fun to watch them in areas with hills since they seem to almost snake around in a flow of their own. Even though it was probably not designed that way, the result is a visual form of art that delights even the most jaded traveler.
Frankly, it’s a big country.
Somewhere around 315 million people call her home (presumably not counting the long term extended stay visitors who are here as well). I have been a Petty Officer, A Chief, and an Officer as well as a manager for many businesses. I can’t possibly imagine how I would lead those people.
315 million opinions based on their own personal biases, experience, age, sex, race, political persuasion and on and on. The glue that holds them together is words written on a few pieces of paper. The Constitution has worked pretty well for a few hundred years. It has not been perfect by any means. Slavery, voting rights, out of control nanny state rules on alcohol use are all classic examples of things that were wrong.
But the bedrock issues of freedom from government tyranny are still pretty solid for most of that 315 million people.
Speech, guns, privacy and property rights are all under attack
People who are supposedly the smartest people around want to cheat the system. By the stroke of a pen, a single group of people represented by a single man are trying to roll back inconvenient laws and rights. Inconvenient to their way of thinking and the way of thinking of a very small portion of that 315 million.
As I was flying over the country, I was reminded how big we are still.
We are the country others run to when things are going bad in their own lands. We are the country of big ideas. We are the country that has learned ways to become better than itself by following its North Star, its compass.
We are the country that knows how to say no to a single man or a small group that tries to change that North Star. When we are aroused, we can make our will known in the face of fantastic odds.
If any man would try and destroy our North Star, “We the People“ are bigger than any single man or minority of thought. The only way we lose America is when we let that minority chip away at our ability to stand up for Freedom.