Friday, July 17, 2015

It Takes a Village

If Hillary Clinton is - hey whatever happened to the Rodham? - famous for one thing it is the phrase that begins like this. She didn't make it up, but rather used an African proverb for the title of her book by that name.

I'm going to pirate it once again to make a point in another direction.

It takes a village to keep an American comfortable.

Having been a comfortable American for over five decades, and having traveled to the Middle East and Europe I feel quite certain that comfort is the core of the American dream. One of the first things that jarred me to reality while visiting foreign shores is that there are certain things I feel accustomed to enjoying that are exclusively American. Many of these are indeed enjoyed all over the world, but not to the extent that I have taken for granted here at home, nor were they available to the generations before me.

Each morning when I wake up, I can count on the following:

A state of the art sewage system will quietly take care of my morning's business
The water from my tap has been through countless filters and is certifiably drinkable
Electricity is delivered to every outlet and appliance in my house
24/7 internet is available
Phone service is uninterrupted
Weekly garbage trucks remove refuse and monthly street sweepers clean my street
The mail is delivered 6 days a week to a box that is secure
If I call 911 someone will answer, emergency staff is on the way
There is an abundant supply of fresh food at competitive prices at my grocery store
The streets I drive on are equipped with traffic lights that prevent accidents by controlling the flow of traffic
There are at least seven churches within a five mile radius of my house, all of whom operate without government restriction
There are gas stations in every point of the city, with pumps that are regularly inspected
I will be notified regarding my voting place and registration
A local library holds nearly any book I want to borrow, for free, without censure
I may choose any number of schools in the area for my child
I may sell my personal items out of my own garage
I enjoy free speech wherever I go
My bank is backed by the federal government and I enjoy a free checking account
Public bathrooms are free

These amenities of my modern life  represent tens of thousands of everyday Americans doing their job, often without thanks. I wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to the unseen person, for the internet call center person who resets my box, the post office person who sorts my mail, the electrician who wired my house 30 years ago, the dispatcher for the garbage company, the engineer who planned my local streetlights, the school board chairperson who oversees education in my area, the person who cleans the MacDonald's bathroom, the person who keeps the gas pumps safe, the anonymous donor to the library - I'm just scratching the surface...

You get my point. I am indebted to so many that I will never see. Living in the lap of luxury sometimes finds me grumpy when only one of these things temporarily hits a snag. Wow. Really? I'm resetting my attitude of gratitude here and now.

Count me one thankful American in the village.

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