I’ve recently been thinking much about all the horrible acts that have been committed on our soil during the last few weeks and months. I’ve read posts on other blogs about how these bloggers have stopped watching the news. They don’t talk about it on their blogs, and they’re just altogether turned off by all the bad news we must watch every day and how everything gets hyped up. I couldn’t agree more. And then I started thinking about how sad it is that this country’s media MUST do this because it’s just a business after all, and whatever gets ratings up is what needs to be done. And then I get upset with our media and the way business works. The thing is: My thoughts – and the ways of this world – don’t stop here.
These kind of thoughts lead me into thinking about all the things that are wrong with our country. Homelessness and unemployment abound and there’s no real help to help those affected because it would cost us. Everyone here is so entrenched into capitalistic thinking (hence only bad news on TV because that’s what gets ratings up, and then that’s what makes money) that we have somehow gotten ourselves into a make-it-or-die attitude that leaves no room for real compassion.
Complain About No Potable Water…
I’ve been listening to Air 1 lately in the car. Air 1 is a Christian radio station that broadcasts in many major markets across the U.S. Especially in trying times when the news is full of bad news about our own country, this station grounds me again; makes me realize that not all is bad. For the last few days, this station has had a pledge drive (and I would encourage you to go the Air 1’s website and make a pledge if you want and can) because this radio station is listener-supported only. No commercial breaks (which I personally love!). For every listener who pledges a $40 gift per month, a business supporting the radio station gives away a water filter that will be taken to developing countries and distributed to families with no clean water. These filters will last those families a lifetime.
… Instead Of The Wrong News On Your Flat Screen TV
So the station host keeps talking about the horrible conditions in Uganda and Haiti and how children get deadly sick and die simply because they have no sanitation and no clean water to drink. And then it hit me how very sad it is that I am complaining about having to hear some bad news here because of one upsetting thing that happened, when across the world, people are dying on a constant basis because they have no water (why is THAT not on the news?). Boohoo, my flat screen TV in my big living room, next to my bathroom and 2 bedrooms is airing bad news. About a bad thing happening in New York or Boston. And in Uganda, people wish they’d have our problems. They wish they could complain about hearing some bad news on their flat screen TV.
Remember What Your Life Could Look Like…
It just leaves me to wonder: Who am I to complain? About bad news on TV! Yes, it is horrible these things happen, but isn’t it wonderful that they actually stand out to us as bad news? I mean, these horrible things happen so far and few in between that we’re still completely outraged at their occurrences and they have the news power to fill all the channels all day long. When news like this comes on from the Middle East, we don’t even listen anymore. It’s literally old news. What else would we expect of those countries? Now imagine living THERE! Imagine the Boston Marathon explosions were to happen on a weekly or even daily basis, not just in Boston, but all over the country. Right in front of your house!
… And How It Really Looks
Are we really complaining about seeing some bad news? Are we really complaining that bad things happen in our country?! Because honestly, if you start comparing, we’re not all that bad off, are we? In the Middle East, people die from explosions constantly. In Uganda, little kids die because there’s no potable water! Something – anything – happens HERE and we feel betrayed and threatened. Things happen overseas all the time; and we don’t even really care.
But I am glad we’re complaining about bad news. I am glad we do, because it’s really a sign of how good we have it here. The fact that these things make us complain shows (even if in a negative way) that we are used to having a good life where bad news actually stand out. Immediately, I go to music (because music heals me) and the first song that came to my mind was “I am proud to be an American.” And while people have received much criticism for saying they’re proud to be an American and that America is “the God-blessed nation,” I think there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. I really do think we’re blessed. Not that we have no problems here or that God would endorse everything that’s going on here… but you know, you and I could have been born in Afghanistan or Uganda. And chances are we’d be dead by now… along with our entire family. So yes, I think I am blessed to live here and I do thank God for putting me into a really good, wealthy and well-functioning nation.
… Because We Can!
And you know what? I AM proud to be an American, because if nothing else, at least I know I am free. I am free to broadcast whatever I want. I am free to write these thoughts onto my blog. I am free to go to school, to work, to travel or to leave. I am free to be upset about explosions in Boston, about the President’s policies, or about any other political or social issue. I am pretty much free and able to do whatever I please. When it comes down to it, it even is a privilege to complain publicly (or at all) and we have it. Why do we have it? Because of the men who died to gave their lives for us. Who fought for our freedoms and our rights. We SHOULD stand up proudly and we should defend our rights. There is nothing wrong with that. And honestly, being the former wife of a former military man, I have my fair share of stories and view points about this topic (but I will reserve this for Part 3 of this story).
We’re far from perfect here. There are a lot of things wrong with our country. But really – look at how bad it COULD be. And then I recommend being thankful. A lot. I also recommend complaining – just because we actually CAN! I leave it up to you which one you want to focus on.
But really, more than anything, I think we should stop complaining and just be thankful. Right now.
And with this, I want to end with a tribute to those who gave their lives for me, and who risk it every day. And really to remind all of us of who we are. And I don’t need it to be Veteran’s Day or Independence Day to do so. And in Part 2 of this story, I’ll elaborate more on who I am… when it comes to being American, and on my not-so-stereotypical immigration story.