I once received the firm admonition to be thankful for my nation. I am having trouble mustering gratitude for the country this year as I watch the ever expanding security/surveillance state encroaching on the laws and freedoms of our nation, with seemingly little public outcry. At times like these I have found it helpful to remember that my country and my government are not always the same thing.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been given living in the United States. I have been able to find employment in a profession of my choosing, support my family, move freely from state to state, speak my mind as I see fit (although recently I can’t help but choose my words more carefully since it is clear that people are listening), worship and live my faith according to my own conscience, own transportation and a home, choose how I will vote and more. These things are all elements of my country, aside from offensive actions that my government takes.
It is important to undertake this exercise and find things to be grateful for. Without them, why would I change the things that need changing? Gratitude grounds motivation, and clarifies what is worth defending.