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Monday, November 28, 2022

OPINION:

Thanksgiving is a great time to think about the things we are thankful for this year. Now, more than ever, I am thankful to live in the United States. I am proud to be an American. 

Our country was founded on the idea that all of us are created equal and that God, not the government, gives us rights beginning with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Despite our challenges, we continue to be a beacon of hope for freedom around the world. 


American citizens have the right to vote for our representatives and on important laws and issues. That makes the United States both a representative democracy and a constitutional republic. Based on the date of our constitution, America is the oldest democracy in the world. We are a nation built on liberty and justice for all. Contrast that with other countries around the world today. 

In Iran, the country has seen widespread demonstrations since the death of 22-year-old Maha Amini while in the custody of the mortality police in Iran. Her crime? She was detained for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly and revealing her hair. More than 300 have died during the protests since her death. 

People in the United States can wear their hair uncovered or covered, shaven or unshaven, natural colors or artificial colors—the government does not rule over things like our hair or coverings. So many other people enjoy the freedoms we do in America. 

Qatar is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Sexual acts of male homosexuality are illegal in Qatar, with a punishment of up to three years in prison and a fine and the possibility of a death penalty for Muslims under sharia law. To my knowledge, there are no known cases where the death penalty was enforced for homosexuality, but it is the legal position of the government. 

Ironically, many liberals in America who verbally attacked Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a law that does not actually include the word gay, but does prohibit schools from teaching elementary school children about sex, are not protesting the largest soccer tournament in the world. And many of these same people proclaim their hatred for America where they are free to express their views and beliefs without persecution. 

All the talk about democracy overlooks the fact that so many nations in the world run blatantly corrupt elections where the outcomes are fixed in advance. In Venezuela, there are numerous reports about deliberate steps taken by the regime of dictator Nicolás Maduro to secure his election.  

Prior to the December 6, 2020 election, the regime, through the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, took over several of the major parties. They then appointed members of the National Electoral Council who were loyal to the Maduro regime and changed the election laws. Before the elections, the Maduro regime jailed political opponents, censored dissenting views, and used armed left-wing groups to intimidate the citizens of Venezuela. 

Proponents of socialism proclaim power to the people. In the end, most people live in poverty under the oppressive powers of the elite. History repeats itself in places like Venezuela, Cuba, and the former Soviet Republics. Each has experienced food shortages and massive poverty for major portions of its population. In the end, market-based capitalism triumphs over government-run socialism. 

The founders of America felt so strongly about protecting religious freedoms that they wrote it into the Constitution in the First Amendment. In contrast, religious minorities are persecuted all over the world—even today. 

The Chinese Communist Party has forced at least one million Uyghurs into internment camps according to human rights organizations. The United Nations recently released a report alleging that the Chinese government was committing crimes against humanity to the Uyghurs, which included physical and mental torture, slave labor, massive displacement, enforced sterilization and separation of children from their parents. Others go further and call it genocide. 

China is one of the most homogeneous societies in the world having similar ethnicity, racial, and religious backgrounds. In contrast, the United States is more diverse and more multiracial than ever before, according to data from the 2020 Census.  

Finally, a report by the Philanthropy Roundtable shows how Americans are more generous in our private giving than other countries. Canadians are the next closest at about half as much as people in the United States. We are 3 to 15 times as charitable as the residents of other developed countries. The report also shows that Americans volunteer more than almost any other wealthy people in the world. 

As we gather together this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my faith, family, and freedom. The fact that I live in the United States of America makes enjoying these things that much more possible for me and my fellow citizens of the greatest country in the world. For that, I am truly thankful. 

  • Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.


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