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In honor of the 4th of July, the Independence Day of the United States of America, I will discuss five things I am immensely thankful for that this country provides, and five things we as a nation could improve on. I am honored and thankful to be born in this country and to be able to enjoy many of the freedoms this country provides for me today. However, I know this country is not perfect and that it has a lot of problems and issues, which I will delve into later. Regardless, I am thankful God put me here not only to be successful for myself and my loved ones but also to help others.
Five Things I am thankful for in the U.S.A
- religious freedom–I can be any religion I want to be and be able to worship freely without fear of being sent to jail or tortured for my faith. I happen to be a Christian, but I see others of different faiths, having similar freedoms to me. This is not true in many other countries. I hear and know of people being jailed, tortured, or even killed just for practicing their faith. For example, in North Korea, in general, if you practice publically any religion other than the state religion, you are put in prison and tortured until you submit to their faith. This is a freedom we Americans should all be thankful for and keep preserving for the next generations.
- freedom of speech–Here in the States, in general, I can openly criticize my local government, state government, and even federal government, including the President and Vice President, without fear of losing my job, going to prison, or being tortured or killed for that. I can even stage a protest against the government’s policies, if I wanted to, without getting arrested or jailed just for doing so. I am very grateful I can do that openly or even publically, without fear of being arrested or losing my livelihood for doing so. In many other countries, if you openly criticize governmental policies or the leader of the country, you will be arrested and jailed for doing so. A few nations even kill their own people for protesting against their government or their policies!
- Adequate water supply- We, as a nation, are extremely blessed by our many bodies of water! In general, 90% of the country, can turn on the faucet and water comes out. This is not true at all in many parts of the world! Some parts of the world don’t even have faucets or clean, running water! In many parts of the world, people must carry buckets of water from miles away from their home, just to get enough water to live! In many cases, the water isn’t even completely clean or as pure, as it is in the States! I see some people here in the States just running the faucet without using the water that comes out of it. What a waste! Think of the people that don’t have any water near their homes. Try to appreciate that you are able to have clean, running water, and don’t take this for granted.
- A strong and courageous military force — We, as a nation, are blessed to have men and women who are willing to risk their lives to defend our country and its freedoms. I know several veterans personally and am thankful to know them. I am grateful for them and all military personnel because many of the people who are or were in the military have to go through not only grueling training to help them prepare for the battlefield, not to mention the horrors and the heartaches of war and losing your comrades, but when they come back to civilian life, they are often underappreciated and/or forgotten. You may not agree with the principles of war, and that’s fine, but the fact that these men and women are standing up for our freedoms and protecting us from terrorists and other evil people, is something for which we should be immensely thankful.
- The right to defend ourselves against invaders or intruders.–We, as a nation, are blessed to have the Second Amendment, in case someone tries to kill or attack us, and the police can’t or won’t do anything about it for whatever reasons. Now, I would personally never own a gun, but for those that do, I respect them, especially if they live in high-crime areas or are in situations where they feel legitimately physically threatened or unsafe. In 90% of the countries that I’ve ever visited or heard about, it is illegal for private citizens to own a gun or any form of defense, even if they do feel their lives are at risk. I do think there should be gun control laws, but I think the basic right for United States’ citizens who are law-abiding and will use a gun responsibly should never be abolished.
5 things the U.S could do better
- Respecting people with different political persuasions.—There has been so much strife in this country just because Trump was elected. Sure, he has his issues, and you don’t have to like him, but hating him or people that agree with his policies, will not solve any of our nation’s problems! I was very saddened by a man who shot several people who were playing baseball for charity just because some of them didn’t agree with this man’s political ideas! I see many people on Facebook and Twitter just taking jabs at people because of their political views. If we want to be united as a nation, we cannot keep doing this! Yes, there are many people who hold views that I don’t personally agree with, both politically and religiously. That does not give me the right to personally attack them, either with my words or my actions. This, in my opinion, is no longer “freedom of speech,” it’s being a jerk!
- Taking care of the poor.–I know many people here in the States, both online and offline, who are struggling just to get by. Some of you may be thinking that these people should “just get a job.” First of all, it’s not that easy! It takes an average of five or six months to get a decent job for most people, and some it can take years, and yes, they are actively looking too! I’ve been there. Also, some people are disabled and can’t work! Either they have severe mental problems, or they are physically unable to work. Finally, even if the poor do get a job, how many jobs do they have to get to have a living wage, and be able to spend time with the ones that matter to them most. Two? Three? Five? It’s so difficult these days to even find one job. let alone several! And where would even an average, able-bodied person find the time and energy to work, let’s say, four jobs to support themselves and family, and still have time to spend adequate time and energy to spend with their loved ones outside of work? I’m not saying that an abled bodied person should just mooch off the government and not to do anything with their lives at all. I’m saying that we should do our part to take care of the poor and hurting, because it’s the right thing to do, and you never know what struggles and hurts another human being is going through. So, unless you are God or know everything about someone, try not to judge them! In fact, in several places, Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.”
- Loving immigrants .—Unless you are a Native American, you have no right to judge who should or shouldn’t be in this country. Yes, it is upsetting to some people when people come here illegally and don’t pay taxes. However, hating them and/or treating them like commodities instead of human beings with felt needs isn’t going to solve anything. I understand that a few people who have come into this country have done criminal activities or committed hateful acts of terrorism, but a.) This isn’t the majority of immigrants. Most are families coming here to better their lives because of all the freedoms and opportunities we have here. b.) There are criminals that are American-born citizens too! So singling out immigrants as perpetrators of criminal acts is not only unfair, it is often untrue as well!
- Loving people who are different than us.–In the past two years, there has been much strife because some people aren’t willing to accept or love people who are different than them. For example, a few years ago, a white supremacist murdered several black Christians worshipping God, during a Bible study, in Charleston, South Carolina, just because they were black! I mean these Christians didn’t even do anything to hurt this guy, and he still shot at them! How sad! Of course, the majority of Americans are not as mean and racist as he was, but we all would do well to look in the mirror sometimes and make sure we don’t even have a trace of hatred for people different than us! This doesn’t only include being free from racism (and not being prejudiced against other ethnicities) but also loving people regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, disability, religious beliefs, or any other human identifier. Loving them doesn’t mean agreeing with everything they may do or stand for, but it does mean being willing to be there for them and comfort them if another person hurts them, and it means actively trying to help them find joy and meaning in their lives.
- Thinking of others before ourselves.–This is especially true if you are in a position of leadership in the U.S government. I saw a government official on T.V enjoying the beach he closed to the public because of a lack of funds. I have several issues with this. First of all, if the beach is closed to the public, you and your family should not be enjoying it either! It’s only fair. Second of all, if you want to enjoy the beach with your family, and there are not enough funds to keep it open, a public servant should take it upon him or herself to finance it so that everyone could enjoy the beach, and not just you and your loved ones. If you are in any position of leadership, be it in the government, or in a school or in a workplace, you should always think of others before yourself. For instance, if you are a manager, you shouldn’t just cut hours or lay off people just so you can save money for yourself or people like you. Think of others first!
These are the five things I am immensely thankful for in this country, and five things we can improve. What are five things you are thankful for if you live in the U.S (or if you live in another country–what are you most thankful for there?)? What things can be improved in your country? Please feel free to comment respectfully on this.