Land of opportunity turns 235; Bulletin starts 18th year

By John Toth
Bulletin Publisher

Fourth of July marks the 235th birthday of the United States of America. And, because we planned it this way, it also marks The Bulletin’s birthday. It’s the beginning of our 18th year of publication.

This issue completes 17 years of publishing. We started the Bulletin to coincide with the country’s birthday. After all, things have worked out pretty well for the U.S., being such a young age as far as countries go. Look at what she has achieved.

Whichever side of the aisle you are on, you cannot argue with the fact that this is a great country. We have made it great. Everyone joining together, regardless of race or religion, made this country what it is today.

Whether you are a fifth generation son or daughter of an immigrant, or like myself, immigrated to the U.S., it makes no difference. Whether your ancestors were brought here against their own free will, or they were chased off their land, we are part of this country now, and we give it life.

The history of any country is oftentimes not pretty. Large parts of it are bloody, violent and unfair. We’re not here to hold grudges, but to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them. Often, that’s easier said than done.

Unlike many of you, dear readers, I had a chance to look at this country from the outside in before I became part of it.

When I grew up in Europe as a kid in the 1960s, the U.S. was just about worshiped in the western countries. I remember when I told my classmates in Vienna that I was going to immigrate to America. They were in awe. They asked how I would get along with the cowboys and Indians. Everything made here and exported was held in high regard. Almost all the movies we watched were made in the U.S.

I was 11 years old, and I was going to this fascinating new world, quite different from where I came from. My mother and I escaped from Hungary almost two years earlier. At the time, the country was under the control of the now defunct Soviet Union.

So, within two years, I went from a totalitarian state to a place my classmates could only dream about.
That was a long time ago. We could argue whether the U.S. is still held in such high regard. But we cannot argue about the fact that in this country anything is possible. Europe is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I like to visit and come home.

The skinny immigrant kid got a college education and took advantage of business opportunities. The kid did not speak a word of English, yet he wound up working as a writer for the last 32 years.

That’s why we call this country the land of opportunity.

Only in this country can the stepson of an abusive alcoholic make it all the way to the White House; or the son of a Kenyan, or the actor, or the peanut farmer. It is possible here because anything is possible. No class system holds us back. You don’t have to be born in the right family. You just have to achieve.
That’s why this is the greatest country in the world. That’s why I have chosen to live here for the last 44 years. And, that’s why I was proud to become a citizen 36 years ago.

Happy 235th birthday, America.