Top Ten Reasons I’m (still) Grateful I’m an American

Top Ten Reasons I’m (still) Grateful I’m an American

Back CameraSorry I’ve been silent over the last few months. If you’re a regular reader, then you know that this blog is a place where I laugh at myself, ponder life in serious and not-so-serious ways, and aim to show a different side of issues. I always ALWAYS add a dose of humor and Pollyanna-positivity to my blogs.

Lately though, my blog drafts start out lighthearted and quickly devolve into whines, rants and whimpers. I can’t hit the ‘publish’ button and add to the cacophony of negative voices shouting across the United States. Lately, my country’s become a place where hate and derision permeate every channel of the mainstream media. The us versus them viewpoint has become the norm. As much as I’ve tried to duck my head in the sand lately, that culture of suspicion and hate has leaked into my own writer’s spirit so I’ve kept silent.

But, not anymore.

Today, I choose to add my voice to the conversation. Sometimes I’ll roar like a lion and other times I’ll whisper. But, my intention is to reclaim this blog as a place to highlight the common experience. I’m still convinced we have more in common than we don’t, that good people are the norm, that this country of ours is a special and unique place filled with authentic, giving, loving and hard-working people just trying to do their best.

Top Ten Reasons I’m (still) Grateful I’m an American

JOY! copy
A sketch of daughter, Bryn, pursuing her happiness.

10)  Every citizen’s right to pursue happiness is protected by the law. It’s in our Declaration of Independence. What other country in the world legally protects the pursuit of happiness? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

9) I can drive a car or a bus or whatever. There are still places on this planet where I cannot drive, not because of any prior record or lack of skills, simply because I have breasts and a baby box. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. To explore a list of the most ridiculous restrictions on womens’ rights around the world, click here.

8) We are a thriving democracy. Every voice counts. We can volunteer to canvas and phone bank for issues that are important to us. We can get out and campaign for people we believe in. And best of all? Every election, we have the privilege to cast our vote.

7) We have free public education for children. Did you know that 60 million primary school children aren’t in school? That’s according to the United Nations. Many kids have to stay home to take care of siblings, collect water, and do other work to support struggling families. Learn more here.

6) We give time and money to charities. In fact, after world-leader, Myanmar, we are the second-most giving country in the world. 68% of us give money and 44% of us give volunteer hours. We’re doing a lot of good. If you want to see the Mashable story, click here.

Jenn Tweet5) We are rich in diversity. According to 2009 census information, in 40-50 years we will be a majority-minority country. That’s fantastic. Some articles even prove how diversity makes us smarter. Here’s a snippet of an article from Scientific AmericanDiversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving. Diversity can improve the bottom line of companies and lead to unfettered discoveries and breakthrough innovations.

Well, it’s just another reason I’m excited for our country’s future. Here’s a link to the article.

4) Our 400+ national parks. Did you know that our National Park Service is about to blow out a hundred birthday candles? We have the greatest land trust in the world and it is a gift to every generation yet to come. Our parks preserve the best of our country, and include countless places that hold cultural significance. If you wish to be one of this year’s 275 million visitors, click here to find a national park near you.

3) We agree to disagree. It’s unique to live in a country where we can have different points of view, have respectful debates and walk away better for having the conversation. Did you read that snippet above about diversity? Every word of it applies to intellectual diversity as well. In the United States, our speech is protected by the Constitution. And I know first hand from living with two opinionated teens, robust debates always end up enriching my view on issues.

2) We can love who we want. It’s protected by the law. I just ask that you love someone that treats you with kindness and respect. Other than that, be happy.

flag series copy copy1) We are in control of our own future. Called the “American Dream,” it is the most well-known tenet of our society. A person that comes from nothing can work hard and become a screaming success. Doubt it still exists? Here’s an article about 10 well-known celebs that came from poverty and now sip champagne.

According to by James Truslow Adams, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.[

In the United States, you can scratch your way to the top, heck you may even land a book deal and reality show along the way. This isn’t the case in other countries, where opportunities aren’t allowed to people based on many things including gender, race, politics, and money, to name a few.

3 thoughts on “Top Ten Reasons I’m (still) Grateful I’m an American

  1. So happy to see that Pollyanna is back! Your reasons are so right on. Presidential election years tend to bring out all that’s wrong with America so the candidates can claim they can fix it. Ugh!

  2. Very well said, Jennifer. We live in the greatest country in the world. I feel sorry for those who believe otherwise. I think some people say different just so they can have something to say. I missed your blogs.

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