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Over the years I have kept close tabs on issues around the globe. To understand what I was seeing, I had to accept the fact that what I know to be true in America is not true for the rest of the world.
Like most Americans, I don't agree with the choices my government makes. Most of all, I believe that we should be doing much more to help those in need, in our own country and abroad. While that issue is close to my heart, it is easy to get caught up in life and forget just how lucky I am to live here. This article is as much a message to myself as it is to you.
In America, we have a government system that is designed to protect its people. Not only do we have a president, we have a whole team of people working behind him including Congress and elected representatives from each state. While some people may not like the person in office, they have security in knowing that he can't just do whatever he pleases.
Everyone in this country has a set of laws that they must obey. Every state, county and city has their own government office and courts to enforce the laws. They also provide police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and various public aid programs among many other services.
In America, we have healthcare. From doctors to dentists to specialists in between, there are people who can care for our needs. The healthcare system in particular is imperfect, but at the very least, children and pregnant women can receive free health services.
Medication is another great luxury that we have. Not only do we have access to vaccinations and life-saving medications, we have access to a plethora of over-the-counter drugs. Can't sleep? We have a pill for that! You may not think that Tylenol PM in your cabinet is a luxury but it certainly isn't available all over the world.
In America, we have public education. Every person in this country has the right to receive a primary education regardless of gender. Education itself is one of the most powerful tools we have in this world, and we get the first thirteen years for free. School can also be a safe haven and a way to get a hot meal.
Don't forget our military, economy, access to food and water, sanitation, and our many freedoms. Many things here need to be improved upon but the fact that we even have such a thorough system is in itself amazing. A flawed system is better than a non-existent one. There will always be room for improvement but things could always be a lot worse.
In regard to the rest of the world, we have to stop looking at other countries through the same lens as our own. Whether it's tyrannical leaders, relentless religious disagreements, corruption or simply a poor beginning, many countries do not work like ours. We have to understand the peoples and cultures before we can understand the issues, or even begin to solve them.
Stepping outside of our American perspective is a great start to understanding the issues that plague the rest of the world. We are privileged to have what we do here, and that gives us all the more reason to do something for others.
Written by Sarah Frederick