It’s time for a breather, America. Fire up the grill, ice down the drinks, and pop open that patio umbrella. Health care, the oil spill, Afghanistan, China, Elena Kagan and financial reform will all be waiting on Tuesday, July 6th. We promise. What won’t be, though, is the chance to lean back and remember why we care enough about our country to spar over these things and in the end, remain united.
“Freedom,” Albert Camus pointed out, “is nothing else but a chance to be better.” For 234 years, America has strived, fought, invented, pushed, pulled and dragged itself towards the better. Fortune was keen to enumerate our progress.
There’s no claim to ranking or exclusivity here, so leave the nitpicking aside for another day, though feel free to add to our list in the comments section. Without further ado, and in almost no particular order, we present the Fortune 100 Great Things About America.
1. The Internet
Oh yes, invented in the USA — maybe Al Gore helped.
2. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights
America’s pastime…steroids or not
4. Mount Rushmore
Home of the original “your face here” gimmick
5. Food in New Orleans
If you can remember it the next morning
6. Rock and roll
Find a Beatles or Stones song uninfluenced by American music. Just try.
Mauna Kea, Kaua’i…you gotta see it to believe it.
8. iPod, iPad, and everything Apple
Carolina, Mississippi, K.C., Memphis…it’s all good.
10. Ford Mustang
Who needs a German car? We’ll take the classic.
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Because this is a real sentence: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Don’t believe us? Check on #11.
13. Slam dunks
Thanks to Doctor J
If the Lion King ever closes, Cats will come back.
Listen to mine sing
Because no one stands up to China better
17. Mark Twain
The original American bad-ass
18. The national anthem
19. Iced drinks
When will the rest of the world figure this out?
Cape Cod, Kiawah, Zuma — ours are better.
21. Madison Square Garden
A little threadbare but still the biggest stage in America’s biggest city
22. Delivery pizza
23. The Grateful Dead
Long may the followers of Uncle John’s Band live on.
We keep clicking on home videos even after Charlie bit our finger — again!
25. The Super Bowl
The parties, the ads — oh and a sports game, too