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9 Things to Celebrate this 4th of July

The last year has brought an unprecedented amount of turmoil to our nation. Politics, COVID, economic struggle, and the fight for equality have touched all of us in some way.

It would be easy to look around and say that there is very little to celebrate in our country this July 4th.  It seems we are more divided than ever before and things are a hot mess.

But I would propose to you there are still a number of reasons you should still be proud to be an American this year.

Nothing I have listed here is managed perfectly, that’s true. But the fact that we are able to enjoy an imperfect version of each item on this list says that someone once believed these things were important enough to attempt. Someone came up with an idea and got it started. It’s up to us to improve upon their efforts. And as we work towards a more perfect union, let’s be ever-so-grateful that we have something to work with.

9 Things to Celebrate this 4th of July

1. Our ability to communicate is easier than ever.

Technology has evolved at such a rate that it’s a shock when someone doesn’t have a cell phone. And with the rise of Zoom and similar platforms in the last year, we have a level of connectivity that has never been seen before. No matter where you go around the world, you have the opportunity not only to speak to someone, but to interact face to face.

2. Information is widely  accessibly to us.

The ease by which we can access information is, frankly, insane. I can ask my phone, IN MY POCKET, to answer a question for me. 93% of Americans are using the internet. And don’t even get me started about public libraries where they let you take books out for free. We enjoy access to most any information we are willing to look for. If you want to know something, it’s out there for the finding.

3. Food is everywhere.

A grocery store or restaurant is on practically every corner. Most people live within a short drive of an affordable food source of some kind. And we don’t have to grow it or cook it if we don’t want to.

4. Our National Beauty is extensive and varied.

Our National Park System holds some of the most diverse and beautiful places in the world. These treasures are preserved and managed by our government, including some of our most cherished monuments. And 3 out of every 4 are free for us to enjoy.

Our country also boasts incredible variety in both landscapes and climates. We have it all: mountains, beaches, deserts, forests. Access to both of the world’s largest oceans and innumerous rivers and lakes. We have access to snow and year-round summers. We are blessed with a wealth of beauty across our country. (If you can’t tell, this is something I am excited about! Wink.)

5. Mobility is a given.

The United States Interstate Highway System is the largest interstate system in the world. And we enjoy the ability to road trip whenever and wherever we please all around our nation, on (fairly) well maintained highways. And to do it in relative safety. This ease of travel is not a given in other parts of the world.

6. Our diversity is powerful.

Not only do we have incredible diversity in landscapes and climates, but we are also incredibly diverse culturally. The US sports both established rural places and urban settings, as well as ethnic enclaves all across the country.

Our architecture, art and food (hello!) are influenced by cultures and traditions from all over the world.  We have access to so many global societies and we don’t even have to leave our own borders.

7. We are never bored.

Think of the variety, size and diversity of celebrations and festivals available to us in every sector of the country. Move on to the number of attractions and landmarks coast to coast. Many of them unique to the US.

We also publish more books than any other country in the world.  And then top all of that with the fact that the majority of tv, movies, & music are produced right here at home.  Our access to entertainment is simply unrivaled worldwide.

8. We can be as lazy efficient as we want to be.

We can drive thru to take cash out of the bank or buy beer. We have mail that is delivered to our doorstep daily. Everything you can imagine is deliverable, usually within a day or two, sometimes as quickly as an hour. We can buy our groceries and have our oil changed literally at the same store. And if we need to do something in person, the chances are good that we won’t have to go far.

9. Our normal isn’t the same as the rest of the world’s normal.

No one is going to come arrest you for speaking your mind or worshipping how and where you please. We have the freedom to travel within our country as we wish, and to enter and return at will. Our government maintains our roads and places for us to enjoy nature. We can read and use the internet for free at the public libraries. Our children have the chance to attend school regardless of race, gender or economics. We dial 911 and someone comes to put out a fire or take us to the hospital. We have a lot of good stuff going on around here, y’all.

Our country isn’t perfect.

But there are so many benefits to living here. .

I try to view our nation the way I view myself, as a work in progress. Always striving to improve its weak spots while celebrating and being grateful for its strengths.

Let’s spend this weekend focusing on all the things we have to be grateful for living here in the US. Even in the midst of our national struggles, the list of things to celebrate is still long. Let’s all raise a glass to that.

Happy 4th of July!

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