There's a lot of reasons Americans can be angry about their country sometimes. Often it can center around politics, such as who won a presidential election, which party is in control, or what policies are being enacted.
Other times it can be over unfortunate events, such as everything that went on last summer. An article in The Odyssey written a few years ago insisted as Thanksgiving was approaching that it was important to put aside disagreements. It encouraged people to focus on the freedoms and opportunities Americans can be grateful for.
While the sentiment is admirable, the list seemed to focus on things that some Americans are more able to be thankful for than others. Given that, it seems useful to add caveats to a few things on that previous list, while also trying to present items that all Americans can be grateful for.
Things Americans Should Be Grateful For According To The Odyssey Article
Freedom of Religion
The author noted that she could wear a cross necklace, say "God bless you" to someone, and attend Sunday morning services in peace because of freedom of religion. She also noted how in other countries, Christians are persecuted for their beliefs.
She concludes that even though America is based on Christian principles, people have a right to believe and worship a higher being or none at all. While it's true that Christians can often feel comfortable in America, it's important to remember that other groups of religious worshippers don't always feel as comfortable.
Hate crimes against Jews and Muslims have unfortunately increased in recent years. Additionally, a part of people being able to freely not believe and worship a higher being, is to freely not follow the conduct of those who do.
But there are still Christian groups trying to enforce Christian beliefs into law. So it's important that it's acknowledged that freedom of religion is not quite something everyone can feel as grateful for yet.
Clean Water Access
The next gratitude item argued that all Americans can be appreciative of is clean water. The author pointed out that in other countries like India and Cambodia, most of them did not have access to clean water. She asserts that Americans take for granted our access to clean water.
While that may be a true of a majority of Americans, let us also remember that many Americans don't have access to clean water. The most widely publicized example of this in recent years was the Flint Water Crisis. And unfortunately, there are other places in the country dealing with the same issues that don't get as much media attention.
The third point mentioned in this article was public education. The author noted that in many countries, education is a luxury, pointing out that 130 million girls around the world are denied as access to one.
While school children in America mostly have access to an education, we should also remember that unfortunately not all of them have access to the same quality of education. Many public schools are underfunded, leaving some children to be more unprepared to succeed in the world.
Hopefully in the future, we can get to a point where every child has access to the best technology, food, books, and extracurricular activities.
What should I be thankful for living in America?
It's difficult to conclude what everyone can have gratitude for in this country, since we all live in vastly different circumstances. I do think the author genuinely tried to do that.
It's just that for as much good as there is in America, there's still a lot of bad that needs to be worked on. Though often, people can tend to look at the country as either all good or all bad. Now that I've acknowledged some of the bad, here's some of the good that can be acknowledged as well.
Things all Americans can be thankful for
1. People are willing to help
America is a country where a lot of people are willing to help others. They'll donate to charity, they'll volunteer, give their blood, and do a lot of other things. Certainly people could do more sometimes, but it's admirable how much some Americans will go out of their way to lend a hand.
They'll stand outside in harsh weather all day just to make sure people who've dealt with injustice get the attention they deserve. Few other nation's citizens stand up for the people neglected in their country quite like Americans do.
2. Things continue to improve
The progress in this country can seem painfully slow sometimes, but thankfully things do continue to improve over time. There was a time certain groups of people couldn't eat wherever they wanted. Now they can.
There was a time certain groups of people didn't have as many opportunities to hold certain job titles. Now they do. The country continues to move forward in helping everybody get equal rights.
While I don't know how diverse every country in the world is, I wouldn't be surprised if the United States is the most diverse one. To the author's credit, they did allude to this point when they listed culture as a gratitude point.
With so many different people in this country, we get so many different points of views and benefit from learning a lot of interesting new things. Cultures around the world bring over their different ideas that offer us ways to live better as a society. That's something we can definitely all appreciate.
4. Opportunity exists
While we don't all have the same level of opportunities, there are opportunities out there to get by. Programs that can help us survive when we're down on our luck. Good two-year schools that are more affordable than four-year schools.
It's true that some people have to look harder for opportunities than others. And some people do have opportunities handed to them on a silver platter. But the optimistic side of me likes to believe that with persistence and creativity, anyone can make something work out for them in life.
I hope this list inspires all Americans to find the brighter side of whatever circumstance they're in. And I hope we're reminded to remember all those in this country that may not be as fortunate as we are.
Let's do our part to be kind to one another and help each other out where we can. Through doing this, we'll hopefully help more Americans be able to have a high level of gratitude living in this country.