Friday, July 4, 2014

7QT (Vol. 93): Why I am Glad to be an American

There are a lot of reasons I can (and do) criticize our country. I'm sure, reading through these, many will immediately think of how we're failing in the same areas. But today, I want to focus on the positive, some of the many great things we do in this country, even if we don't do it perfectly.

Our public schools promise to provide a free and appropriate education for every child, regardless of ability. We have vocational training, schools focusing on the arts, technical schools, and college preparatory schools, to name a few. We provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, sign language interpreters, ESL support and a variety of other services to children based on need, not ability to pay.

My mom was once working with an immigrant from eastern Europe who was grateful for the way police operate in the United States. Mom cautioned him that police brutality still happened. "Yes, but here it is illegal." Our police force is charged to protect the common good, not be the strong arm of a dictator.

My family can go to sleep each night confident that no bombs or soldiers will disrupt our sleep. We do not live in a war zone. I know I take our peace of mind for granted too often. When I read of villages destroyed, families torn apart, and refugees around the world, I am reminded how good we have it.

I have legal protection to practice my religion freely and a society that, by and large, approves of that right. We may differ on how far that right should extend, but Americans believe that each person is entitled to worship - or not - in whatever manner he chooses. We are not bound to a state religion or in danger of death for practicing our faith.

I like staying home with our kids while my husband works to provide money and health care. But I am very grateful to live where women are not required to be dependent on men. Our society recognizes women are capable of earning money, living independently, and making their own life choices.

I had some friends from out of the country who were very critical of how few Americans travel abroad - until I mentioned once how it takes a day or two to drive less than halfway across the US. Within our borders, we have a wealth of natural and cultural diversity. There is so much to learn about where and how people live, all without getting a passport!

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