Nasty politics, partisan bickering, and the profits they generate are grist for journalism. Appalling violence in Chicago makes its unwelcome daily appearance on the evening news. We disagree about who we will admit into this country, who should pay for health care, and how taxes should be assessed. Some days I can’t bring myself to read the paper.
However, on this 4th of July I am still thankful to be a citizen of the United States. Here are a five reasons why:
We are free to worship God without restraint. There are regular warnings of government encroachment where it is not welcome, but the church is still strong in this country. It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like to face severe restrictions on our worship as Christians in other countries must deal with, and as I pray for them I am thankful for our religious freedom.
This country is beautiful. Oceans, mountains, lakes, forests, and plains all display natural artistry. And when we add man’s work to God’s creation we have no shortage of delights to see, experience and to enjoy. Gratitude and wonder over the glory of God fill me when I revel in his creation.
We have the right of free speech and US citizens have the right to vote. If we are not happy with the actions of our leaders, we have the opportunity to make ourselves heard and to vote our conscience. There is usually tension around our right to free speech, for it can be used insensitively or abusively. However, those are rights that we should never take for granted, they protect us, and I am thankful for them.
There is opportunity for anyone and everyone to learn, to work, and to grow. Of course, the economy is not always fair, education does not prepare everyone well, and racism, misogyny, and ageism are still realities. These issues are the topics of more disagreement, but progress is undeniable and I am thankful for it.
Our constitution is a work of genius. I am very grateful for the separation of powers as defined in the U.S. constitution, especially in today’s political environment. Sometimes it seems like nothing gets done, but that is often better than the will of one person taking over.
I will choose, at least for this week, to remind myself of the benefits of being a citizen of the United States of America rather than join the chorus of anger and finger pointing in the news. The U.S. is far from perfect and it has intractable problems, yet living in its freedom, beauty and opportunity is still a tremendous blessing.
For what aspects of living in the United States are you thankful?