As American as apple pie…or maybe as #Merica as requesting “Free Bird” at the bar; there are a lot of things that are unique to being American. This 4th of July we will celebrate the 240th birthday of our nation. We are a special group of individuals. There are many things that we as Americans can do that those living elsewhere can’t. In honor of the 4th of July, let’s explore things that cannot be done in other countries and are uniquely American.
Baby Names: Have a baby on the way? Want to take a page out of Hollywood’s book and name your child something creative like Apple or SssT (Forrest)? You couldn’t if you live in Denmark. Denmark has very strict rules on what a child can be named or, even how a name can be spelled. The government even has an approved list of about 7000 names parents can pick from.
Ketchup: If you are from Pittsburgh you know there’s only one ketchup, and that’s Heinz. If you go to France there is no ketchup…well, at least not in their cafeterias. The country has banned ketchup of any kind in school cafeterias (expect one day a week) to help preserve french food culture. Here you can put ketchup on anything especially french fries.
Hair: I once had my hair colored a deep red, almost burgundy. I’ve also had it cut super short where it could be spiked in the back. Now I just color it a dark brown. However, if I lived in another country I may not be able to change up my look so much. I definitely wouldn’t be able to dye my hair lilac like or icy blonde like many celebrities are doing now. In North Korea they have select hair styles you can choose from; and in Iran you can’t be business in the front and party in the back since they’ve banned mullets.
Gum: Now, we’ve all been disciplined at least once for chewing gum in school; but what about as an adult? In Singapore chewing gum was once illegal. In the past years they’ve eased up on the rules. You can now chew sugar free gum, but only if you have a prescription.
Travel: How many times have you been planning a trip and had to worry about whether your passport will get you there? Probably not many I would think. The U.S. has the 4th most powerful passport in the world. We can travel to most destinations without needing a travel visa. Afghanistan has the least powerful passport in the world. Citizens from Afghanistan can only travel to 24 countries visa free.
Freedom of Speech/Internet Access: As Americans we are quite proud of our Freedom of Speech and our access to information. Here you can express yourself (within reason, you still can’t yell “bomb” on a plane) without the government knocking down your door for expressing a dissenting opinion. We have uncensored internet assess. An IP address originating from America has access to pretty much any website. In China things are different. Internet censorship in China is huge. In order to control information and to ensure that information and opinions that differ from governments are approved messages, the internet in China is tightly controlled and patrolled.
Things That Are Uniquely American
Displaying the American Flag: Now especially, you cannot drive down the road without seeing an American flag in someone’s yard. In other countries, though, you normally only see it displayed on government buildings. In America, you see the flag everywhere.
Tipping: As a former waitress I find this interesting. Tipping is something that is pretty unique to America; and it confuses the heck out of foreigners (I may have been stiffed a time or two because of this). In many countries like Japan it is actually an insult to tip.
Sweet Tea: Looking at you southern states…
College Sports: Other countries don’t understand how college athletes especially college football players get so much celebrity status in the states. In other countries college sports are looked at as an “extra-curricular activity;” in America college sports get nearly as much coverage and bring in as much revenue pro-sporting events.
Muscle Cars: Need I say more?
Without sounding too cliche; I am proud to be an American. Our country is special, unique, and influential in many ways. As you celebrate this Fourth take time to remember our history and thank those who have served and helped shaped the country we live in today.
Did we miss anything? What else can you think of that makes America stand out as a country?
Happy 4th of July!Tweet