A Thought for This Thanksgiving
When many of us in this part of the world sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, the conversation will inevitably (directly or indirectly) turn to what it is that we are thankful for. For most of us, there will no doubt be many things on the list - some material, some social, some to do with friends, some to do with family.
As you consider your own personal list, I'd like to offer up (without meaning to sound presumptuous) one additional thought, especially for those of us in or from the United States and living through these very interesting times.
And that is, that we should give thanks to this idea called America.
America is a country but really, it's so much more than that. We can talk about geographies and states and laws, but at its core, America is an idea.
America is about a shared set of values and ideals. It's about a set of common beliefs that extend beyond the physical. Mutual respect. Hard work. Belief in each other. That the sum of our parts is greater than the individual.
It goes beyond race, beyond religion, beyond your orientation. Its not about what you look like or who you pray to or which sect you are part of.
In my America, we don't care about those things. In my America, we bring people together, not divide them. In my America, we focus on the good in people and not in what separates us.
Sure, we aren't perfect. We make mistakes and we screw up. Perhaps, one can argue that the idea isn't translated fully as yet. We're definitely a work in progress.
But that doesn't mean it's a failure. Or that the idea doesn't hold. Or that all this hard work and difficulty isn't worth it.
Quite the contrary, the Idea of America is what pulls so many of us together and drives us forward. What binds us beyond the superficial issues we grapple with, the actions of the few that seem intent on harming the values that we believe in. What ultimately saves us from the destructive rhetoric of our politicians. The idea of America is what brought millions of people (myself included) to this country over the years, to find their home.
Yes, America is more than a country, it's an idea. And as others have said before me, it could well be one of the best ideas any one has ever had.