If you pay too much attention to what's happening, you can easily conclude that America is a rotten country. But that's wrong. America is still the best. There are two things about America make it great: the country and its people.
This is a truly beautiful place. That's the first thing. If you're absorbed by your phone all day, it's easy to forget that. But look around. America is a stunning country. Yes, Switzerland has the Alps and Zimbabwe has Victoria Falls. But multiply that by an entire continent and you've got what we have in America -- from the islands of Puget Sound to the islands in Casco Bay, from the Rockies to the Badlands, from the Upper Peninsula to the Appalachian Mountains.
Spend a day hiking through the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. You may not see another person. How can a place so gorgeous be so empty? We've got a lot of those here. Wake up in Big Sur in California some morning. The smell of redwoods and salt air will change you. You'll feel things you inherited from your ancestors coming from places the modern world cannot touch.
We are blessed to live in a place like this, more blessed than we acknowledge. No matter what happens next, no matter who becomes the president now or in the future, nothing can diminish the dignity of an eastern white pine towering above the spruce in a New England forest. All of it is ours to enjoy, thank God.
And we've got a lot of people to enjoy it with, an awful lot. Americans are still the best people, misguided as we sometimes are. This isn't an especially religious country anymore, but surveys on churchgoing do not tell the whole story. Even now, most Americans know they're not really in charge of the universe. They know there's something bigger out there, bigger than all of us combined. And when you understand that, when you know in your bones how small you are and how short the ride is likely to be, you tend to treat people better.
This is a profoundly nice country, the nicest in the world. Americans are kind to children, to pets, to strangers. We give more money to charity than any other place. We tip our waiters more. There's no country on earth you'd rather be lost in, because someone will help you in America. We don't eat dogs, we rescue them. They sleep on the bed, we give them funny names, we cry when they die.
It's a sweet country. In some ways, it's getting better. The music's definitely improving. So is the food. Believe it or not, we still make things here and a lot of them are pretty good now. Americans love innovation, but they are distrustful of anyone's radical plans for the future. Most people here don't want an abrupt reshuffling of everything. They prefer incremental improvement. That's why we've had only one revolution. It's why we fought off the metric system all these years, and thank heaven we have.
It's why we still have Christmas and always will. Christmas in America is great. Even if you don't really understand what it's about, and many people don't, it's still the happiest time of the year and therefore it's the most American.
America is a happy country, despite everything. Our happiness is fundamental. It's in our founding documents. It's in our people. Nothing happening right now can take that away.