America – The Promised Land

America – The Promised Land


Gene Simmons was born in Israel shortly after the end of World War II. Most of his family perished under the Hitler regime in concentration camps because they were Jewish. When Gene turned 9, he and his mother legally immigrated to America. Most people know Gene Simmons as the former lead singer of KISS, a rock-n-roll band, who wore makeup and platform shoes while singing loud music. However, the following video allows us to see him as a thoughtful and reflective immigrant to America. He tells us that the luckiest moment of his life was the day he immigrated to America. He calls this country the Promised Land and he compares his experiences in America with other parts of the world.

Joe’s Perspective: I have often heard that if you want to truly appreciate America, you should talk to an immigrant or talk to someone who has traveled extensively around the world. These people are able to compare and contrast the practices of America vs. the practices of other countries. Sometimes, we as Americans, take our freedoms for granted. Sometimes we are told how terrible our country is without balancing out that message with how great our country is. For example, many wealthy Americans in the southern states owned slaves from 1776 to 1865. This is true and it was a truly horrible practice. However, it is important to note that many countries around the world practiced slavery. Next, we have a founding document that says, “All Men Are Created Equal,” which created principles to eventually right this wrong. Finally, America had its own Civil War to end slavery and an all-white Congress added the 13th Amendment to ban slavery from existence in America. This is just one example and there are many more to cite.

Patriotism: I am a patriot because I know the full story and because I can balance factual information. America is a great country that allows one to rise on her/his merit. Even if you don’t graduate from high school, you will be able to find a job and live a good life. By applying yourself and working hard, you should be able to live an exceptional life, especially compared to other countries. America is a great country because of the freedoms we have to choose – choose our religion, choose where to live, choose our occupation… And, because of our tolerance, we can live next to others with different religions, skin colors, ethnic backgrounds, occupations, family backgrounds… It’s not perfect, but when you compare it to other countries, we handle diversity pretty well. Finally, we are a great country because of our freedoms – we can vote for who we want, badmouth those in power and work to create the change we want through free speech, peaceful protest, boycott or voting. The United States Constitution guarantees these rights. We have a contract.

Your Turn: These are my beliefs, which I hold dearly. However, because we live in America, you are allowed to agree or disagree.  So, my question is, on a scale of 1-10, how fortunate do you feel to live in America. Explain your answer.

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  1. 10 because in other country’s people are forced to work in camps or they will be killed and they have to worry about not having enough food.

  2. On a scale from 1-10 about how fortunate I feel to live in America I would put about an 8. I think 8 because there is a lot of good things and people in America and it is a very free country. The bad thing about it is there are a lot of people that do bad stuff to other people and other things. There are also a lot of people moving into America which is making it super crowded and busy. But, we have a good police systems and many other good things to keep people safe and healthy.

  3. On a scale of 1-10, how fortunate I feel to live in America is a 9/10! The reason I choose 9/10 is because America is an amazing place to live. You have so much freedom to live here and you can always feel safe. Although, America does have its ups and downs, It’s still an awesome place to grow a family.