Americans are sometimes accused of taking their lifestyle for granted.
In the spirit of being thankful - especially during the holiday season - here are 10 ideals our nation embodies that show how blessed we really are:
Unrestricted Access to Information
Americans have the ability to access all corners of the largest information database known to man.
Residents of China - the most populous country on the planet - don't, as the Chinese government has laws in place that allow it to regulate, block, and shut down various parts of the internet.
Right to Worship
Even with today's concerns and controversy over “radical Islamic terrorism,” mosques across the U.S. continue to remain open to Muslims and operate freely without government restriction.
In other parts of the world, organizations execute groups of the faithful simply for having different religious beliefs.
Love Whomever We Wish
Americans can choose to spend their lives with whomever they wish regardless of creed, financial status, or sex.
In India, there are laws in place that “effectively [make] homosexuality illegal,” while in other countries, like Mozambique, forced marriages for children as young as 15 are considered a “normal” and “widespread practice.”
A Stable Republic
Since its inception, the United States has placed power directly in the hands of the people by giving them the power to choose their government.
Even when significant percentages of Americans are agonizing over the results of an election, the fact that the country doesn't shut down or erupt in violence is proof of our faith in the democratic system.
Incredible Reduction in Disease
This chart from the CDC - which shows the “crude death rate per 100,000 people per year for infectious disease” in the U.S. - indicates the huge medical advances the country has experienced in the last 100 years.
America Is In Demand
As a first-world country, it's no surprise that residents of less-developed regions would want to immigrate to the U.S.
As a Gallup poll from 2012 shows, however, there are 150 million adults worldwide that would permanently move to America given the opportunity. The next highest preference was the U.K., with 45 million, then Canada and France, with 42 and 32 million, respectively.
Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Press
The brutal attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris gave a potential glimpse into a world where such freedoms have been cast aside.
Access to Clean Water
From 'vitamin' to 'smart' - American consumers have a plethora of different types of water at their fingertips.
With this in mind, it can sometimes be easy to forget that there are regions of the world where only about half of a country's population has regular access to potable water.
A Tradition of Charity
Despite concerns about 'American greed,' U.S. citizens gave an estimated $358.38 billion in charitable donations in 2014, exemplifying a willingness to help those both domestically and abroad who need it most.
It's a trend that may even be on the rise, as the 2014 number show an increase of 7.1% from 2013.
The American Dream
While some may think the idea of the 'American dream' is dead and gone, studies from recent years show that a majority of Americans have been able to rise from lower income brackets into higher ones.
This statistic seems to show that those who choose to succeed in America really are able to achieve their dreams.
So, when someone asks you what you're thankful for this holiday season, you can tell them it's to live in America, and then you can tell them why.