I am grateful that I am able to speak not only as a human, but an American. I am grateful that I am part of "We the People." For the most part, I am proud to be an American!
I am grateful that for the past four decades I have been able to live my life without a care concerning my government.
I am grateful I have the opportunity to make my voice heard through the Internet, editorials in local papers, and thousands of other ways to share my opinion. I can do this against my own government with every confidence that I won't be silenced. If I have any doubt of this, it is important to test this belief by exercising my voice until I am certain that that freedom still rings.
I am grateful that our culture may be at a place where we recognize our moral compass may be pointing in the wrong direction, and is vital for life to sustain itself. Now that the fruit has matured, can I see what was planted. As I look out over the harvest, it must be time to plow the field! The seeds of sour grapes may grow even more bitter the next time around.
I am grateful that our education system has enabled me to read and write. Now that I am grown, the endless wealth of knowledge available to me over the Internet and in our libraries enables me to discover everything! I can do anything I ever dreamed! What a gift!
I am grateful that my water comes from "somewhere other" than the lake behind our house that collects the runoff from the surrounding manicured, perfect lawns. I wonder if our public water plant board of trustees buys bottled water for their families?
I am grateful for documents like the Declaration of Independence. It reads like prophecy to Americans today...nearly 225 years after it was written! The question is, WWJD? What Would Jefferson Do if he were here today?
I am grateful that in a time when things may not be going so well that we may recognize our need to change, and that change begins with every single one of US. Only when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change can we begin the process of reform.
I am ashamed of myself for not paying attention in history class. I wish I had learned more when someone else was laying out the lessons and the stakes weren't so high.
I am ashamed of how many hours my children's lives have been squandered in front of the television set. How are teachers supposed to teach children with commercial conditioned attention spans?
I am ashamed that my home could house 20 families by most of the world's standards, and that would significantly improve the lives of those 20 families.
I am ashamed of the amount of energy it takes to power my house. I consume more of the world's resources through my decadent lifestyle (by the world's standards) than I will ever be able to intelligently justify.
I am ashamed that I have missed more than just a couple opportunities to participate in our country's elections. Even when I bothered to vote, I really didn't know all that I should have about the issues and candidates. I used the excuse, if God had wanted me to vote, He would have sent me a candidate. That excuse just doesn't fly...I should have done more.
I am ashamed of not blowing the whistle on unfair elections because at the heart of it all, I just took our noble nation for granted. I felt I could lock Lady Liberty away in a governmental institution in Washington, and I could let the public servants dismantle her ideologies one line at a time while I looked away. I paid her my respects on the Fourth of July, but didn't really pay attention to her struggles. I enjoyed plentiful picnics in her parks, and showed her just how much I cared when I wiped my dirty mouth on a napkin with her stars and stripes.
I am just so ashamed...and grateful that I finally see it that way.