Top Ten Things I am Thankful for as an American
10. The right to disagree. I am thankful for the fact that we can speak freely and disagree on things such as top ten lists among others. I hope to have some reader’s top ten lists in response to this one.
9. No more Theresa Heinz Kerry in the news. That woman just got on my nerves with one idiotic statement after the other. I am so thankful that she is not going to be the first lady; she makes Hillary Clinton look like a pussycat, which is one heck of an accomplishment!
8. The 2004 campaign is over. I consider myself something of a political junkie but even I become sick of the campaigning and spinning. The campaigns seem to last longer and longer. In less than two years, it will start all over again. For now, I am just thankful that there is no more campaign ads on television, print, or radio complete with misleading information, insulting our intelligence.
7. Ding-dong, terrorist Arafat is dead. Arafat was a terrorist, now he is a dead terrorist. The Israelis and the Palestinians now have a new opportunity to reach a peace settlement. A peace in this region would greatly reshape the rest of the Middle East and the world. This may be a long way away, but it is not impossible. After all, Jordan and Israel made peace which lasts to this day.
6. The information age. No longer does the American public have to depend on 3 bias news sources: ABC, NBC and especially CBS. In the internet age, information is now accessible to everyone. Dan Rather’s forged memos did not escape the scrutiny of the bloggosphere, the Drudge Report, and talk radio. The press must recognize that it must be fair and present all sides of the issues; otherwise, people will look to alternative news sources. The traditional news media should give the public the facts and trust the public to reach its own conclusions. Having a variety of information sources allows people to use more critical thinking skills (which are very necessary when evaluating the accuracy of information on the internet or elsewhere).
5. 50 Million + people have a chance to live in freedom. As a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, people who have lived their entire lives under tyranny have an opportunity to have those freedoms many of us Americans shamefully take for granted. These two countries each have a free press, church/state separation, economic freedom, fledgling elected governments, and unprecedented other freedoms for women. Women can now walk the streets without a male chaperone, can vote, and can even hold elected office. No one can say for certain if self government will work in either of these countries; ultimately it depends on how badly the people of these countries want it. Representative government takes time and patience; we are still far from perfecting it in America. Once the opportunity for freedom presents itself, it is very difficult for tyrants to resist the tide. If freedom does take root in Iraq and Afghanistan, surrounding countries such as Iran may also give way to freedom. The spreading of freedom is the best hope we have in achieving world peace. How this all plays out will be very instructive to how the war on terror will be fought in the future. I for one am thankful that this process is finally underway and am very optimistic.
4. Saddam is in prison; his sons are still dead. More than a year ago Saddam’s vile sons were killed in battle; they will never again pose a threat to our safety or the safety of the Iraqi people. Later this December, we will also be celebrating the capture of the Butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. He was found living the life of a mole in a dirty, smelly, spider hole. Saddam must now answer to the Iraqi people and the world for his litany of crimes against humanity.
3. The results of the 2004 presidential election. Certainly not everyone shares my view on this however, I believe President Bush was the right choice for America in these troubled times. No question, President Bush has his flaws, particularly with much of his domestic agenda, but he does understand that we live in a dangerous world and that decisive action has to be taken when dealing with international terrorism. Sometimes these decisions are unpopular yet he sticks to his guns because he believes in the cause. I am also thankful that the results of the election were clear. There are some concerns over some of the vote tallies in Ohio, but when all the votes are accounted for, the end result will be the same. No election runs 100% error free (there is definitely room for improvement), but it is a human system therefore it is not perfect. Those of you who voted against the president should also be thankful; because Kerry lost, you will have an opportunity to vote for the person you really wanted to vote for this time in 2008: Hillary Clinton. Yikes, I shutter at the thought.
2. Military Families. Just as the soldiers themselves are sacrificing for this country, so are their families. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, and the children of our troops have to go on with their lives as the war on terror rages on. This means not seeing their loved ones on holidays and many of life’s other big events. They watch their loved ones leave from the local armory to not be seen for maybe a year or so later. Unfortunately, some return deformed, missing limbs or suffer other forms of trauma. Even worse, some never return at all. I am thankful for these families who put themselves on this emotional roller coaster. I do not know how they are able to do it, but without their support, the cause for freedom would be all but impossible.
1. Our troops. All of us owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. These young men and women of the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy, Air force and Coast Guard, some as young as eighteen, have volunteered to put their very lives on the line to serve this country. When I think of the tremendous sacrifices these young people make every day in every generation, it gives me faith in the strength and resolve of this country. The American soldier has defeated the scourges of Nazism, Communism, Fascism, and is working right now to defeat militant Islam and all other threats to freedom and self government everywhere. Nearly every place there is freedom; an American soldier’s boot has treaded, usually at the expense of his life (I wish more Europeans would not take this fact for granted. But for the sacrifices of the United States, they would very likely be living under tyranny themselves). Regardless of whether we agree with a particular war or military action or not, we should always support our troops and thank them for their service. Every one of them are heroes and they should be treated accordingly.