There are some issues of which I am happy with the outcome and some of which I'm not pleased with the outcome. But there's one thing that I'm still remain happy about. I'm American.
Every day in Italy, I see either Carabinieri (Italy's Military Police), local Polizia (Local Police) or Guardia di Finanza (Financial Military Police) pulling cars over to search your car or check documentation WITHOUT CAUSE. First, in America, Military police have no jurisdiction over civilians - only military. Second, there must be just cause to search a car or pull you over. However in Italy, they just put up the red lollypop and you must pull over. And you don't want to not see it...the guy behind the guy with the lollypop is ready for you.
At the same time, no government or police faction can do anything against the Italian Camorra. Since they have taken over the trash collection in the Campania region, there are walls and walls of trash everywhere. You can't even pull off the highway into an emergency lane because it's a wall of trash. I have gone for runs around and through piles of trash. And businesses must pay the Camorra il pizzo or a "Protection Fee" for operating. Refusing to pay means that you are a target of terrorism, usually ending in the burning down of your establishment. It's so ironic that you would pay the organization for protection from that same organization.
That coupled with a recent article of the air quality. A study was just released that shows measurable amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Also, because of the trash problem everyone burns their trash. The air is constantly filled with smoke from burning trash.
No one and I mean no one obeys basic traffic rules. I say no one, because if you are here long enough, you become one of them. You drive like them or else they will eat you alive on the roads. Now that I have been driving my kids back and forth 1 hour each way and the miles I put on in between, I think I have logged at least 300 hours of driving since I arrived. The states have their share of crazy drivers and almost everyone speeds, but this is more than you can imagine. Roads with Ferraris, 199cc scooters and everything in between. You cannot believe it until you experience it. There is a civility in the states that is not here on the road. And I have never seen anyone pulled over. Passing police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles with lights on seems commonplace. It is almost lawlessness.
For these reasons and more, I am so thankful to be an American. Sure there are things that I think we can learn from here too. Like the quality of food and what is accepted. There are strict GMO restrictions in place and the people generally make very fresh and healthy choices. I've heard of people driving to Naples just for eggs because they are the best for pastries. There are very few processed foods and those that are on the shelves (like breakfast biscuits and cookies that are very popular) have very simple ingredients - ones even I can understand!
But all in all, give me the good ol' USofA. Italians that have been to America all agree that our country is the greatest nation. A man who pumps gas for me tells me about his Uncle in Philadelphia and how wonderful the US was when he visited. He longs to save enough money to move his children there for a better chance at life. That's the American Dream. It's still alive in the world, and I hope that we can hold our country together for it to be realized for generations to come!
Join my family in praying for our nation. This morning in the wake of our political elections I spent some time in prayer using this scripture from the Apostle Paul as inspiration of how to live as a citizen of both the US and Heaven.
“Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.” (1 Peter 2:12-17, NLT)
Today I am thankful for the following:
10. Landlords that are working around the clock for our home inspection. They are flipping this house in 3 days time!
11. America. Land of the Free...Home of the Brave
12. The foosball table at our hotel. My son has had so much quality time with Daddy at this table and he has gotten quite good for being only 4! Tonight they got to play before Chris headed in to work.