Thanksgiving 101 in the United States

by Jermaine

Today I want to step back a little further and express my thanks that I live in the United States of America. Without appearing too melodramatic, I want to express my gratitude to Lady Liberty, diplomacy, and the whole mixing pot of cultures that have made me who I am today.

It may sound shallow. I’m thankful that the NFL didn’t go into a long, drawn out labor strike that would have ruined the holidays by cancelling the amazing season that the Detroit Lions have had so far. At 7 and 3, they just might make the playoffs. Even if they don’t beat the Packers this week they are still winners in my book…. Why? Because people think they can. A few years back when they went 0 and 13 nobody outside of Detroit would even care that they were playing on turkey day.

Where I live now
I’m thankful that I live in a neighborhood where on one side I have a Hispanic family (straight from the Dominican Republic) and on the other side a Caucasian family. Though I don’t talk to them nearly as much as I should, I know there was a time where this kind of diversity was unheard of.

Where I work
I’m thankful that I have a job to go to everyday where my thoughts are appreciated. It is not my age, gender, or ethnicity that make me (or limit me). Luckily, I am just as likely to get a promotion as the vast array of different aged, different gender, and different ethnic people who make up my peers. (If the government finds out otherwise I have the right to sue). That is saying a lot for a country that less than 100 years ago wouldn’t allow women to legally vote.

Where I’m from
 I’m thankful that even though I grew up with a ton of obstacles, I had the support system behind me to push me to adulthood. For all of the people in the world who think Detroit, Michigan is a horrible place… try visiting a third world nation and you’ll quickly change your tune. I know that all of the things the Motor City embedded in me as a child weren’t perfect but I honestly wouldn’t change one moment of youth.

I’m not naïve
 This Thanksgiving I have to be brutally honest. My life is not perfect. Why? I’m not perfect. My world is not perfect. More specifically, my country is not perfect. However, if there is one thing I’ve learned in the last thirty years it is that we can learn, we can grow, and we can change.

The diversity and freedom we have does not have to be a by-product of the laws that we set. We can make freedom, liberty, and unity really real! This holiday season I challenge you to be the change you want to see in the world.

Another reason I’m thankful… There is no other countries you can visit with 6625 Wendy’s, 12,000 Burger Kings, and over 30,000 Mc Donald’s.  The even better news is, in spite of this greasy abundance, most people will not have a burger on Thanksgiving. Eat some REAL food. I plan to be one of these people!