Wow. You think this wouldn't have happened had Gore been president? That takes a real lack of intuitive thought to come up with that. Don't play the "coulda woulda shoulda" game, no one knows how things really would have happened or be happening with another man at the helm. Things are the way they are, and if you want to make a difference, work on the present so the future can be better--don't gripe about the past...it's already happened. It's unalterable. Learn from it and move on.
This nation wasn't a failed Puritan colony. It was originally a hodgepodge of American Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, French, and British people spread across the map in colonies run by different empires. Then they all started mixing together, and the result, Americans, fought wars to take the east, southwest, and northwest, and bought the midwest and Alaska. We killed some Hawaiians, too. The Puritans were just a piece of the puzzle, a segment of the whole. We just focus on them more because they were British, and most Americans are white with some British ancestry so we tend to focus on them more.
Most Americans are ungrateful. That's where a lot of these troubles spring from--most Americans don't realize that our middle and lower classes still live better than most of the population of the rest of the world.
I love this country, but yeah, of course, problems exist. We're in a strange environment--this is just about the only area in the world where you don't have to worry about your neighbors. Europe is full of countries, borders, differing cultures. We have Canada and Mexico. Canada is basically America, except they play Rush on the radio more often. We don't even bother to have a real border with them--it's the largest open border in the world. Why would we need to bother? They're Canadians! What can you have against Canadians? Mexico has shifted enough of its population into the southwest that all the locals are used to them.
So, Americans grow up not really worrying about other countries. It's sad. Concern and interest in others is a healthy thing to have. European kids are forced to travel around before they go to college, just so they know what things are like in other countries, other cultures. I know Americans (yes, people this stupid exist all over the world, but it's more depressing that I grew up with these guys) that couldn't find places like Kenya, Mongolia, or Papua New Guinea on a map if you spotted them the continent they're on. So yeah. I started rambling there. Sorry.
Separation of church and state...do you know what that means? What its original intentions were? I'm not sure I do, either. So many laws have been made and subsequently twisted around that it's hard to tell what our founding fathers intended. Sure, you could reason that some of the things they started were changed for the better. You could also reason that they were probably much smarter than us about politics and some of their ideas shouldn't have been messed with. At least then we'd really know what they meant. Do you know the real intent behind the right to bear arms? Neither do I. It's been lost in all the cries for the increase and better establishment of freedoms we all seem to crave.
Go live in a third world country for a year or so. You'll come back so grateful that you have running water and heating ducts that you won't even think about video games or anything like that.
Why do some people try to define what someone can or cannot do to themselves, you ask? Because what we do is who we are. It is our mindset. The old cliche that actions speak louder than words is true. Televangelists that claim spiritual knowledge don't hold much sway after they're caught sleeping with hookers. Laws that define what we can do are made to define who we are. Think of Amsterdam. I hope I never have to go there. I certainly never want to live there. Why? Because it's known as the place where you can get anything, buy anything, do anything. That is its reputation. Sometimes people just don't want to be tied to a reputation like that in any way. Personally, I hate Vegas. I've been there, and I was happy to leave--the air tastes rotten in that town. To me, it's a symbol of the bad things that we do as a society, of the things we let loose that other nations hate us for. Is all the hatred justified? I don't think so. But when we have a town where you can legally buy a woman for a few hours and drop 50 large at the roulette wheel in a matter of seconds, while other countries have children starving to death due to famine, I can see why they'd be perturbed...