Some people do not realize how lucky they are to live in the United States. There are many negative aspects of this country, and for some people, these can overshadow the positives, causing them to take their rights for granted. This was brought to my attention recently while I was scrolling through my Twitter feed. I came across a tweet that said
“if you don’t hate the US grow up”
If I had seen this while I was in high school, I likely would have agreed. Currently, I do not. This is not simply an ignorant statement either. I am completely aware of the atrocities the government has committed, such as numerous war crimes and the separation of families at the border. While these are inexcusable, I realize that there are actions I could take to oppose them.
My six weeks interning at Catholic Charities Legal Services have shown me that the inherent rights United States residents believe they have truly aren’t inherent. I have worked on numerous cases in which people were persecuted for things that are commonplace in the United States. A man from Honduras was heavily chastised by society for having a mental disability. Current conditions in Sri Lanka have forced some people out because they practice Christianity. I have even worked with a man from Haiti who received numerous death threats and had a knife held to his throat simply because he supported his brother who ran for political office. None of this would happen in the United States.
Despite all of the cruelties the US government has condoned, every single one of the people I have worked with dreams of living in this country. For them, it represents safety, economic opportunity, and an overall improvement to their quality of life. I know the government deserves much criticism, but I also know we are able to criticize without fearing for our lives. Because of the freedoms the Constitution guarantees us, we tend to take some of our rights for granted. We tend to focus on the negative aspects of the country, completely ignoring that the United States gives us rights that allow us to do this.
The United States is far from perfect, and many policies need to change. That doesn’t mean, however, that it deserves the hate it receives from many of its residents. Instead of fostering resentment for the United States institutions, I encourage the angry to use their privilege in an attempt to fix the issues that upset them. Others around the world do not have the ability to do so, and I firmly believe we should not take our opportunity to spur change for granted.