America is a rich nation, despite its many problems and challenges, many, such as war adventurism, the product of hubris born of our success. Many elements contribute to our riches, but overwhelmingly toping the list are the people who have come here to live in freedom and with the opportunity to achieve their ambitions with hard work and a bit of luck. “Eternal vigilantes” is the price we must pay to preserve the institutions and attitudes that help defend our way of life from those who want to run them for us.
We are rich in many ways. We are rich in our neighborliness toward our fellow man (we are the largest charity givers in the world), born in part by our gratitude for the respect for our persons and property shown to us by our neighbors. We are rich in the diversity with which we are able to live and conduct our lives, within the domain of mutual self-respect.
Our fellow citizens have come from all over the world. They are self-selected by their desire to be free and to work hard. And they bring with them those elements of their cultures that have enriched their lives in their home countries.
I shared in and enjoyed some of that richness last night at a concert by the Washington Balalaika Society featuring Olga Orlovskaya (soprano) at a local Presbyterian Church. The WBS (www.balalaika.org) is dedicated to performing traditional Russian music with Russian folk instruments (Balalaika, dombra, bayan). Olga Orlovskaya is a great granddaughter of Fyodor Chaliapin, the greatest Russian opera singer of the 20th century. Of the dozens and dozens of concerts and plays to choice from in the Washington area last night (or most any night) my Russian friend Andrei Makarov convinced me to attend this one and what a treat it was. America is indeed a rich country.