Many of us have much to be thankful for in this country. It would be hard for anyone to deny that it is, in general, a great place to live. It’s not that we don’t have people living in poverty, because we do.
It's not that we don’t have hate and bigotry; we’ve got that too. It’s not perfect. But on Independence Day, we can be grateful for quite a bit. We should be grateful to those who gave their lives to make this a country; to the men and women who fought for race and gender equality; and to those who work to ensure we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are battles that still rage. But at least we get to fight them.
I'm a little obsessed with dystopian novels right now (think “Hunger Games,” “1984,” “This Perfect Day,” “Legend,” and “Divergent”).
I had to take a break so my paranoia would die down and my husband would stop giving me the raised-eyebrow look. But I’m obsessed with what our country will look like a hundred or so years from now. Of course, I’m fascinated by the possibilities for technology, but also the change in political and global climates. But of course, I won't be alive to worry about it. However, my kids and grandkids (and so on) will inherit what we make of our country today, so I have 10 wishes for the America that will be theirs.
1. A country where everyone has a voice. Race and gender are no longer hurdles for voting, but representation of women and many minority groups is still way down in state and Federal government. We need to raise up politicians who really want to serve, of both genders and all races.
2. A country with topnotch education. The reports of our children falling behind others in the world is disheartening. We’re a bright bunch. Public schools and universities must continue to improve and innovate to stay ahead of the game.
3. A country that understands its stewardship of the environment. We’ve only got one planet. Best not to screw that up!
4. A country that still rewards innovation and hard work. We have a rich history of talented inventors and entrepreneurs, and we need education and job opportunities that will help discover those brilliant individuals in the next generation.
5. A country that celebrates its soldiers and public servants. My brother gets deployed next month, and I’m thrilled to be living in a country that supports and honors our soldiers and their families, even if they disagree with what they are sent to do. Although federal employees get a bad rap sometimes, it’s important to remember they too work hard to make this country a better place to live.
6. A country where anyone can dream big. Whether you were born in a box or a mansion, this is a country where every child has the chance to dream about bettering his or her circumstances. Let’s keep it that way! (Refer to numbers 3 and 4 above.)
7. A country that has more love than hate to give. “Love your neighbor as yourself” says it all.
8. A country that cares about the downtrodden. Bad luck, bad decisions, natural disasters, and ill-timed deaths can all affect someone's circumstances. We have typically been a country with big hearts (both here and abroad). Personally, I believe that’s why we’re blessed.
9. A country that has powerful allies. Oh, Mr. Snowden. You little stinker. Why are you tearing us down? We need our allies — we do.
10. A country that is a positive force for the rest of the world. Giving to the poor. Holding to a high standard in war and peace. A technological and economic powerhouse. A government that is an example for others. Lofty ideas, I know. But we are capable of them all.
Now, I just have to do my part to make it come true.
MEGAN COX is an author, journalist and blogger. She can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Read her parenting column at edmondsun.com/momaroundtown.