by Sara Johnson
Ha￼ve you ever stopped to consider how many choices we have in one aisle of the grocery store? Seriously, we have entire aisles devoted to one type of food. Take cereal for example; there are hundreds of different types of cereals. In how many other counties in the world is that possible? Cheerios, Corn Flakes, Special K, Cookie Crunch... I doubt I could even name half of them.
The blessings surrounding us in America are so easy to take for granted that many don’t even think of them as blessings. Something as simple as “what type of cereal I want” seems so trivial, but when you begin to think about how many families could be fed from one aisle of a grocery store, it is easy to see how much we take for granted.
Don’t get me wrong, this is in no way, shape, or form an attack on what we have in America, or a message saying we have too much. Believe me, “I gotta have my pops.” But, do we slow down enough every day to recognize how lucky we are to simply live in this country?
“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” It’s a simple saying. We’ve heard it a million times, and most would agree, but we don’t seem to learn from it. I think America has a problem. (Okay, America has a LOT of problems, but I think this is at the root of many of them.) Americans are suffering from a severe case of situational gratitude. We don’t seem to appreciate anything until we no longer have it.
As a new resident of NYC I look up in awe at all of the massive, larger-than-life buildings surrounding me as I walk to and from the office every day. I think that’s a mild version of what it would be like to take 99% of the rest of the world into a Super Walmart or a Kroger. What we have in America is amazing, so why is everyone complaining? We are turning into the land of the free, and the home of the whiners.
I can’t help but think that our founders must be incredibly disappointed in us. George Washington didn’t have a Northface jacket, fleece-lined boots or an REI tent to sleep in, while he was fighting against the British for independence from an oppressive government. He certainly didn’t have free healthcare, food stamps, or public education. There was no life insurance for Martha if he took a cannonball to the head.
There is a movement sweeping across our country with a message against “corporate- greed.” Not to be confused with anti-greed, as we are seeing their list of demands grow and grow every week. We’ve lost touch with what it means to be an American so much, that these protests are attracting 20-somethings across the country who, A: don’t have a clue what real oppression is, and B: from the looks of their iPhones, iPads and Macbooks, love corporations. They are clueless as to whom they are standing with, and what they are standing for. These kids actually believe they are being oppressed because they took out student loans, and that it is wrong for a cop to use pepper spray on someone actively breaking the law.
Any why wouldn’t they? They’ve been told their whole lives that they deserve a job and they deserve an education. These are the kids who got the “most-improved” trophies on the soccer team, and didn’t realize it solidified that they were the worst player at the start of the season. Basically, they’ve been raised to be the spoiled brats they are acting like. They don’t know how good we have it in this country—a country where cops use pepper spray, not tanks and missiles.
We need to start actively showing how grateful we are to live in America. We need to live it through our actions, our service, our speech, and our worship. The government and the media were not actively pushing God out of the mainstream when the majority of Americans, who say that they’re Christian, actually lived like they were Christians. Tim Tebow should not be a phenomenon for standing up for a faith that over 70% of Americans says they believe in. In an interview with Skip Bayless on ESPN, Tebow said he vocalizes his gratitude to Jesus Christ because he is thankful for the sacrifice He made for him.
Shouldn’t we all be doing that for the things we are thankful for?
We live in the most exceptional country on the planet—the only country that protects our God-given freedoms by law.
Americans have more freedom and more choices in every aspect of their lives than the citizens of any other country: brands of food, clothing, cars, modes of transportation, who we want to vote for, what we want to do in life and most importantly the freedom of religion. I know what I’m thankful for and Who I am thankful to this “Thanks-giving.”
Thank you God, that I am an American.