As you sit down and smell the turkey this afternoon while the Cowboys fall behind early to the Raiders, you may hear a relative — probably an uncle — complain about inflation or the country’s racist past. Perhaps your cousin — who’s probably still in college — will denounce the pilgrims. Your mom just had to invite that side of the family, didn’t she?
These conversations get heated and disheartening, and you walk away from them with raw feelings about the country.
But don’t let others’ views dictate your happiness, as so often happens on social media. Instead, enjoy that you can debate and even fight about the country’s direction. This Thanksgiving — after your sister throws a turkey leg across the table — walk away from the political outbreak smiling and thankful for America, despite its flaws.
Last fall, Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth described America in a way I won’t forget.
“If you want to compare America to heaven, we’re going to fail every single time,” Hegseth said. “But if you want to compare America to the rest of the world, we remain a stand-alone beacon of freedom that is contrary to human history.”
Hegseth is right. America is not heaven. This country doesn’t reward us based on our virtues or punish us based on our sins (unless our sins also happen to be crimes). And despite the recent regression in race relations and the rising tensions among our neighbors, America remains an unparalleled force for good worldwide.
The flaws in this country’s founding, while often mentioned, are exaggerated. When citizens discuss this country, it’s as though its shortcomings have blinded them.
It’s true, life in America is not perfect or even steady. Each day is a grind filled with losses, disappointments, and envy. And yet, the country’s virtues quickly outnumber its faults.
In June, Ben Shapiro analogized America to a team that wins the World Series. See, not every player on a championship team is the best at their respective positions. The route to a ring includes a year-long quest of slumps, firings, ejections, shutouts, and heart-breaking losses. Still, the team that comes out on top overcomes all the adversity to win the World Series, and its fan base celebrates that their imperfect team won it all anyway.
America wins the world World Series annually for many reasons. Our heroes overcome our criminals. Our family members — the true uniters — regularly outweigh the importance of divisive figures. The best trained warriors in the world protect us. Our team’s leading players lead us to victory, despite their baggage, and we come out on top as a result.
Shapiro also listed America’s consistent victories:
“If you could choose anywhere in the world to grow up to have a chance at success, the United States would be the place.
“We have the most robust economy. We have freedoms that you don’t have another place in the world: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly. We have constitutional freedoms guaranteed. All these things are wondrous things that are unique and undergird the rest of Western civilization. [If] the United States falls, so does everybody else.”
America isn’t heaven, and we are not angels. However, America also is not what social media presents it to be. America has something for everyone: a state tailored-made for each ideology, a career path for every skill. Most importantly, America gives us a say in how it’s run. The country is in our hands every two and four years.
That’s something to remember as we exemplify the American way this afternoon — by lying around, overeating, drinking way too much light beer, and watching hours of NFL football after an entire plate of turkey disappears. Not so bad, huh?