It has been hailed as the El Dorado, the land of opportunities and the land of milk and honey among many other descriptions. It is indeed all these and much more. It is a magnet for the world’s people who want a better way of life, one of prosperity and opportunity. Yes, all these point to one country –the United States of America, or USA for short! This nation on the northern hemisphere has dared to be different from the rest of the world, right from the time of its birth in the last quarter of the 18th century. Since then, it has sought to lead the world in all the areas that matter. The USA is the world’s leader politically. It is the only true superpower, with no real challengers, although there are no permanent trends in international relations. About other parameters though, there is less subjectivity.
The USA is the world’s undisputed leader economically, technologically, militarily and what have you. Anything that happens in the USA on these fronts, the rest of the world reacts to. Several countries’ destinies are tied to that of the USA, because their dependence on this superpower is so total. Would you not love to visit the country of such great mega achievements and might? Would you not like to enter the country that is the world’s third largest in terms of geographical area, but undoubtedly the first in terms of all-round and uniform development? Then, pack your bags and take the next flight to the USA. Want to learn more about this veritable paradise on earth? Read on.
USA – Nation Of Nations
There is perhaps no other epithet that describes USA as appropriately as the one coined a few years ago: “nation of nations”. It is on the premise of drawing people from all over the world and ensuring and assuring them better opportunities that the USA is built. The idea of immigration and opportunity for self actualization has been inseparably built into the American gene. Immigrants have been such an integral part of the American society that as long back as in the middle of the 19th century, in a Thanksgiving Day speech, president Abraham Lincoln thanked God for having “…largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration”. Despite accommodating people from all over the world, this is perhaps the only true meritocracy in the world. Irrespective of whether an immigrant is from Poland or Peru, or from Sweden or Swaziland, everyone is an American once he or she is naturalized. There is a legal process of naturalizing a person, but the assimilation into the American way of life goes deeper than just the issuance of a Green Card. It is the profound affinity and sense of integration that USA fosters in these peoples that makes it different from any other nation. There have been many other nations and civilizations into which foreign powers or invaders came down and tried to take away the wealth of nations they entered. They also brought about a deep change in the social attitudes and religious demography in the process, but what makes USA different is the fact that people have come in from virtually all other parts of the world, but have got so attracted by the plethora of opportunities the host country has given them that they have, far from taking away wealth, imparted some of their own –the wealth of enterprise and free spirit. Over a generation or two, most immigrants lose out their touch with their roots to become fully Americanized. At this, just no other country can claim to be as successful the USA. Into the vast diversity of people from all nations, there is an underlying unity in the USA that holds them together as if they were beads held together by a string. This is typified by the traditional motto of the USA: E Pluribus Unum –Latin for ‘One among many’. From the time of independence from British tyranny, USA has been so diverse that the Anglo-Saxon people have formed the core of the political and economic structure, while the social structure has been built on a collection of peoples that have been scattered across the globe. This has been the trend from the time the 13 colonies broke free from the Crown by way of a violent overthrow of despotism. The story of American independence has been told a million times over, but is still worth a recall –if only for the sheer pioneering daredevilry of a group of people who wanted to be free. It is thus not difficult to understand why the USA gives so much prominence to freedom of all kinds. The USA believes that the more freedom you give a person, the more you allow him or her to grow. This is what each of the USA’s over 300 million people have got. Born at the confluence of two earth-shaking events that changed the world –the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution, the USA is today the country into which all that originated in Europe have found the fullest and finest expression. It is the country into which people come in to achieve what they can never dream of in their host country. Right from the time of the earliest British settlers who came here to escape monocracy and an entrenched, class-conscious society to the Germans who came in here to give full vent to their technological prowess to the Irish to whom the USA was a succor like no other following wretched economic, religious and political conditions back home, to the mercilessly persecuted Jewish people, the USA has held equal charm for people of all other nationalities.
General Etiquette in USA
It is not possible to expect uniformity in tipping habits in a nation of this gargantuan size and diversity. It is best for the tourist to get local information about this practice, as there tend to be sharp differences in the way and nature of tipping and etiquette across the USA.