In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on what’s right with our country. In my family, during Thanksgiving dinner we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. So rather than critique things or express what I’d like to see in the future, I want to focus on the things that I’m proud of and thankful for right now.
I’m thankful for our media. Whether you like getting your news from the television, newspaper, radio or the Internet, we have quite the abundance of choices in the United States. Thank goodness we don’t live behind the great firewall of China or have the system the Iranians do where the government has blocked sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in the past. It’s very easy to take for granted all the information we have access to since there’s so much information out there that we can easily get our hands on. Even the fact that you can go into the school library and pick up a copy from a newspaper from a country on the other side of the world as us really goes to show you that we do have a lot of freedom when it comes to the press and media.
I’m thankful for our Constitution. The more I learn about the Constitution the more I come to appreciate it and what it set out for our country. It describes core rights that we have that are essential for our freedom and well being. These rights are not always respected as they should be, but we can always point back to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and remind people of our rights as both human beings and Americans. It was written so the people could be the masters of it, and as such it’s relatively easy to understand (even without a law degree) and it’s not too lengthy. The Constitution in my eyes is one of the most powerful and important documents ever written.
I’m thankful for our judicial system. I know it’s not perfect but overall I’m very happy with it. The idea that we are judged by our peers is a powerful concept. In a world where public outrage is easily formed, it’s reassuring to see that usually cooler heads prevail and arguments are heard in a court of law. The rule of law is a great thing and without it life would be very unstable and much more difficult for all of us.
I’m thankful for all the land that makes up the United States; what a diversity of terrain we have from Alaska down to Florida. Even in San Luis Obispo you can go downtown for a more urban setting or you can head just a few miles to where Foothill Blvd. meets Los Osos Valley Road and it’s like you’re in a totally different setting with all the open land. We have a lot of great national parks in addition to access to two oceans and many terrific lakes in between.
I’m thankful for our innovative spirit. In a country where refrigeration, motorcycles, jeans, airplanes, supermarkets, masking tape, chemotherapy, transistors, defibrillators, cable television, credit cards, barcodes, the polio vaccine and even spandex were created, you have to see that we’re a pretty innovative country. These innovations are beneficial to literally billions of people around the world and help improve our quality of life. I can only imagine what we’ll invent in the future that will further improve our lives.
Last but not least, I’m thankful for my greater family that is the American public. I think we have some of the brightest, kindest and resourceful minds among us. The other day it dawned on me how diverse we all are and yet how well we get along. I saw a Lamborghini and an old clunker on the same stretch of road, and I’m sure the owners live very different lives, yet they both call the United States home and can share the same road together. We are indeed a great melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, religions and philosophies. I have a great deal of confidence in our future because of the strength of the people that make the up the United States.
Aaron Berk is a computer engineering junior and Mustang Daily political columnist.