I taught ESL to several students from Gujarat, India. They said to me they came to the US not because of financial opportunities but because of security. In the US, one said, the police care. They prosecute crimes. The judicial system (with its obvious flaws), largely works. In addition to that, a majority of US citizens believe in the system and follow its laws. In general, we are a just and fair society.
We are a nation of hope. Yes, the US has committed atrocities around the world. But we have also done great things. All of the nations of the world complain when we don’t sign treaties like Kyoto, but they also are the first to look to us when disaster strikes. The tsunami of last year, the earthquake in Pakistan, and even on our own shores during Katrina, we are a nation always ready to give, even if our leaders may be slow to do so. I believe this has to do with the very nature of Americans. People came to this country hoping to make a new life, to have a better world for their children. Most of the people I know are third or fourth generation Americans, but that hope is still in them. It has been passed on like an heirloom.
Finally, the fact that Hindus, Moslems, Jews, Christians, and all the other faiths can sit down on the same day and be thankful for what they have, be it to God, or to their families, to their bosses or whomever, eating a giant Turkey, or Panak Paneer, or Tofurky, says to me that there is more that connects us as a nation than divides us. One thing is true about all of us, we are grateful for what we have.
So, from me to you, a sincere Happy Thanksgiving! And for those not in the US, email me your snail mail address and I’ll send you some turkey.