As I See it
On this Thanksgiving Day, the economic hardships brought on by a lackluster employment climate and the very real concerns about the current international situation, with seemingly never-ending death tolls at the hands of terrorists, it is only natural for us to find our mood for this day a little tarnished. Yet, we who are living in this wonderful country at this time have so much to be thankful for.
No matter what burdens you may be carrying in your life, just visualize what it must be like for those living in almost any other part of today’s world. For example:
– Almost any place in Africa north of the Tropic of Cancer, especially the sub-Sahara nations, torn by internal strife and riven by the scourges of famine and AIDs.
– Any of the Muslim countries of the Middle East and North Africa where Islamic rule is so medieval in its control of people’s lives, especially if you were born female.
– India, with its teeming masses, poverty and squalor, and once again, especially if you are a female.
– China, with its overwhelming population and oppressive Communist rule, which although less odious than in the past, is still nothing we would want to live under.
– North Korea, facing mass starvation under the rule of a psychopathic egomaniac.
– Any of the countries of southeast Asia, where, except for a small wealthy class, most of the population lives in poverty.
– Russia and the former so-called Soviet Republics, where the removal of the former yoke of Communism has not alleviated the poverty in which the vast majority of the people live.
– The Balkan countries, with their poverty and seemingly never-ending internal ethnic and religious strife.
– Many parts of South and Central America, unless you were fortunate enough to be born into the wealthy upper class.
– Israel, especially if you were born Palestinian, and where regardless of your religion and ethnic background, terror and destruction are your constant companions.
– Or how about Haiti or Cuba? In so many of these places, even safe drinking water is a luxury.
Also stop to think what life would have been like if you were born at some other time in history. For instance, being born almost anywhere in the world before the advent of electricity, modern convenient transportation, the multitude of labor-saving devices that have removed much of the drudgery and back-breaking labor that were most people’s lot in life, and the miracles of modern medicine and dentistry.
Even in the United States, life hasn’t always been rosy for many. If you were born black, you would have endured a lifetime of slavery prior to 1865, and a culture of oppression and prejudice since then. Before the 1920s, both native-born Americans, and especially immigrants, worked under deplorable conditions in mines, steel mills, factories and sweat shops, up to twelve hours a day, six days a week, for as little as a dollar or two a day, before the rise of unions and an awakening of conscience within industry. Workers were looked upon like horses ” if they were injured or died, they were cast aside, without regard or compensation for the destitute families of those killed or crippled.
Indeed we are living in the best country in the world, and at a time that those who have preceded us would envy. Most precious of all we have freedom! As we gather with family and friends to give thanks for all that enriches our lives, let us dedicate ourselves to protect that freedom against all threats, both foreign and domestic, for our children and for their children. And finally let us remind ourselves of those who are less fortunate and give a generous share of what we are blessed with to the many charities whose mission is to help those in need.
Glenwood Springs resident Hal Sundin’s column runs every other Thursday in the Post Independent.
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