Again and again I witness how ungrateful many Americans are. We are such a lucky people. We live in such a wealthy, advanced country, and have basic freedoms without recent generations having done anything to earn them. We have everything that anyone could ever want; yet many don’t appreciate everything that we have even though we have so much.
This year we will vote for the next president of the United States of America. I have been waiting to vote anxiously since I was about 12. I was brokenhearted to find out that my 18th birthday falls after the polls close. I will miss out on something incredible: the chance to help elect the next president.
I was shocked to realize that not all Americans vote or are even registered to vote. Countries like Uganda, Cuba, North Korea and so many others throughout Africa are run by dictators. The people of these countries cannot freely choose their leaders, laws or anything else for that matter. We have something so precious, something they do not. We have freedom and yet not every American utilizes it. I am appalled.
In the U.S. we have an amazing education system. In the past years it has taken hits from budget cuts and the recession, but it is still one of the best schooling systems in the world, if not the best. People from all over the globe flock to the U.S. to learn in our esteemed universities and colleges. According to The World Factbook by the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A), 99 percent of the population of the U.S. is literate as of 2003. Niger has a literacy rate of 28.7 percent, in Afghanistan the literacy rate is 28.1 percent, and in South Sudan only 27 percent of the population is literate.
The people of these countries would probably love to have the education of American children. Yet, if you walk into just about any American high school you will be greeted with bemoaning and whining. You will hear talk of too much homework, too much note taking and too much time spent in school.
As American adolescents we don’t realize just how incredibly lucky we are. We are born with opportunity, with the right to be educated and literate, and the right to take part in our government through voting. We can be anything we want, yet we don’t understand the potential of that.
Take every opportunity you come across. Be thankful for everything you have and realize that not everyone has everything, or even anything, that you do. Take advantage of your free education and your freedom.