Be thankful for the American dream this holiday

Staff Editorial

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

The Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on the good in the world. The overall aura of the holiday is filled with joy and happiness.

This year I’m thankful for being an American. I believe each American reading this should feel this way too, especially during the holiday season.
Being an election year, it seems that at times politics has been shoved down our throats, so much that you might feel like you are just completely “over it.” In a country divided into two major factions, the overall anxiety of political polarization is real.
I would like to change your perspective of American politics by explaining what made me fall in love with the subject.
The United States is the only country that offers every citizen the ability to create their own American dream. The foundation of our country was built on starting a completely new government with the main ideology being “of the people and for the people.” It means that our forefathers set up our republic with the foundation of freedom and liberty being first in mind because they never wanted an American citizen to have to worry about the government controlling what they say or how they feel.
They wanted Americans to worship and live freely, and they protected those liberties with the Constitution. I find that to be the most heartfelt thing, and it makes me feel extremely blessed to be born in this country.
I get to wake up and be who I want, write what I want, and do what I want. Each day we get to make choices with our own freedom, and we’re not even thinking about it.
At times, it seems that the struggles of America are highlighted more-so than the successes of our nation. No country is perfect. We have our flaws, and this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t always be working on doing better. However, the United States is a benevolent superpower that has done more than any other nation to promote and fight for freedom of the people all around the world. So many have fought and worked hard to immigrate here for the freedoms that so many take for granted.
Of course, that being said, it’s all a part of the American dream to form your own opinions. After all, as Americans who live in a republic, we don’t all have to agree all the time. We can believe in anything we want, that’s the freedom given to us in the Constitution. This seems to be one of the most challenging parts about living the American dream today; people seem to no longer want to listen to nor respect the opinions of others.
Living in a time where our country is divided into factions, taking a stand can be intimidating. You have no idea how the other side will react. Even worse, instead of having an open and respectful conversation, some find it necessary to attack individuals with opposing points of view. They seem to forget that living in America means that you can stand up for what you believe in even if others disagree, though finding the confidence to do so is a personal obstacle even I struggle with.
As a teen, it’s been eye-opening to see the things I once had the freedom to do be taken away. We’ve been demanded by government officials to stay away from our own families. We’ve been told where we can and can’t go. Private business owners have had to close the doors of their own companies, not even knowing when or if they’d ever be able to reopen. Media and social media censorship have even taken away the right to free speech. This is a very slippery slope for our nation to go down. Benjamin Franklin warned of such a path when he said, “Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
This holiday let’s be thankful for living in a country where the people have the power to decide what’s right. Take advantage of all the benefits that come from living in America, which includes taking a stand on what you believe in. One of my favorite quotes is from President Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in their bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” These words must never be forgotten because once we give up our liberties, we will rarely get them back.
You can be the direct change you want to see by being a positive influence in your community. Although there’s no doubting the evil everywhere we look, for our well-being it’s time to look at the good and growth as we reflect on this season.
This year has challenged us in ways that didn’t seem possible in 2019, but as we approach the new year, it’s a time to learn from what we’ve lived through. We have a fresh start, and we can choose new beginnings, starting with living our American dream and protecting the amazing God-given freedoms we have in this great nation.