A thank you to our great country

Ian Billings/Mustang News

“During the Thanksgiving holiday, I once again realized how important it is for everybody to be thankful for living in America. Not only are we living in the top economic country in the world, but we are also blessed with ample freedoms, a strong military and a beautiful country.”

Eric Stubben

America today lies in a critical place. We sit at the corner of history, where our rich past meets a progressive future. The ideas of our Founding Fathers are constantly tested and questioned by modern sciences and technologies. Globalization expands opportunities, but raises tensions.

Whether we believe it or not, America is still the best country in the world. Our economy is the strongest in the world, with a GDP more than $3 trillion higher than the second ranking country, China. We are second in the world in electricity and natural gas production, and third in crude oil production. We have the most established system of roads, railways and airports in the world.

Yes, our education system needs change, but don’t let that fool you. More than 99 percent of Americans are literate and thousands of talented young professionals graduate from colleges every year. Nearly 31 percent of Americans hold a Bachelor’s degree, far more than the world average of 6.7 percent.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I once again realized how important it is for everybody to be thankful for living in America. Not only are we living in the top economic country in the world, but we are also blessed with ample freedoms, a strong military and a beautiful country.

The mere fact that I am able to sit down and write what political beliefs I have, even though they are typically critical of the current president, is a freedom many people around the world do not have.

In the United States, we must be thankful for living in a country with the perfect balance of economic success and social freedoms. Compare us to European Union countries like Greece, Spain or Portugal. On the outside looking in, they seem great: beautiful countries, an average of 20 to 30 hour work weeks and direct access to all of Europe. But underneath all the glamor, each country holds a sputtering economy where riots and bailouts are the norm. In America, both are rare.

With as much as our country is compared to China, be thankful we aren’t actually China. Yes, their economy is growing at three times the rate of ours, but it comes at the expense of civil and social liberties. Be thankful we don’t have to trade a growing economy for a Communist country where each family is limited to having a certain number of children.

Then there is America’s beauty. Living on the Central Coast, every Cal Poly student has to be thankful for America’s inherently beautiful landscapes. What’s even more impressive is that our country’s beauty isn’t just in one place, it can be seen everywhere in any form. From our coast to the mountains and lakes in Alaska and Hawaii’s beaches all the way to the rolling wheat fields of the heartland, America is beautiful.

The most important thing to be thankful for in America is our past. Not necessarily the past we lived, but the past created by generations of brave and courageous men and women. Of course, the story of Thanksgiving comes to mind. What would we be without the determination of the Pilgrims and the help of the Wampanoag tribe?

Be thankful for the Founding Fathers who created the most impressive country the world has ever seen. Their founding documents created an unprecedented clarity and structure that we abide by today.

Be thankful for the men and women who have donned the United States uniform and served our country. Without them, our rights and freedoms may not be here today.

As Cal Poly students, be thankful we have the opportunity to attend such a wonderful school. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country, paired with a relatively small and supportive community. Combine those with one of the premier schools in the country, and we are truly a blessed group.

Be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this critical period of history. We all have the opportunity to vote and make decisions that will affect the outcome of this country. We have the choice to send our country in a variety of different directions, all unique and positive in their own ways.

This holiday season, and really every season throughout the year, be thankful for the opportunities we have and the freedoms we’re provided in this great country.

  • flashsteve

    Eric…You made me really nervous in the beginning, when you talked about our ‘progressive’ future. Progressive is the new code word for liberal; are you changing teams? Just kidding. Yes, this is a wonderful country. But, as a 66-year old guy, I have seen a dramatic change in my time. Rampant consumerism, higher crime rates, street people everywhere, crowded cities and freeways, increasingly unhealthy citizenry, failing education system, etc. These are all trends emerging in my short lifetime. I am concerned/convinced that America is on a steady, downhill trajectory. When you look at America through the lens of quality of life (community involvement, respect for self and others, good health), you have to be concerned.

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