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by Alissa Lopez

Some people (typically liberals) don't believe that America is great, but rather a hateful, racially and sexually selective, oppressive political and social system that was set up by old white 'stupid' men.

Yet the reality is that ours is a diverse nation of individuals of different races and backgrounds espousing a variety of ideas and dreams. It is a place where people can openly express different viewpoints, praise their own God, and achieve financial prosperity, all without the government telling them that they can't do that.

We have the First Amendment

You're welcome Black Lives Matter, because without the First Amendment, you would not be able to protest, disparage police officers or white people, and make unwarranted demands.

Reporters can excoriate our government without being imprisoned; contrary to China, Egypt, Turkey, Eritrea and Iran who combined have 122 journalists imprisoned out of a total of 199 throughout the Western Hemisphere; most of whom were put away for criticizing and/or demanding government reformations.

To top it off, the 300 million people or so that live in this nation refuse or practice varying religious philosophies from Atheism to Evangelicalism, and we all manage to coexist with one another. But in countries like the Middle East, Christians have been wrongfully targeted for years due to their religion!

If you want to be a billionaire when you grow up, you can!

The benefits of capitalism are endless. It encourages people to achieve their aspirations and utilize their talents. No matter who you are or where you come from, you have the ability to make something of yourself.

There are so many stories of people who, beginning with relatively nothing, grow up to become billionaires. That's the American dream that can't be achieved with other economic systems such as socialism, which has bared its ugly face numerous times. I can continue preaching until the cows come home that socialism provides no incentives for people to work hard, let alone the ability to 'make it big'. As Margaret Thatcher once said, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

But I would rather discuss Venezuela's particularly upsetting situation because self-proclaimed socialists continue to disregard it. Venezuela is reaping the consequences of Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regulations and policies: food shortages, sick children and adults left in hospitals to die, psychiatric wards being unable to care for their patients, and the Colombian border opening so Venezuelans could purchase food and medicine.

Does that say enough? Or should we mention Greece or backtrack through history and discuss the Soviet Union?

We are accepting!

I have heard a considerable amount of times from liberal college students that our country is not accepting of people other than the 'white cisgender privileged males.' Women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, minorities — my apologies, I meant people of color — continue to be oppressed. This is humorous to me, considering approximately 1.3 million people immigrated to the United States in 2014, an 11 percent increase from the year before.

If our nation was so terrible, why do foreigners want to come here in the first place and why do we welcome so many with open arms? If we were so abysmal of a country, our society would have ISIS-like behaviors, in how they throw gay people off buildings as a consequence for their sexuality. We would have deep racial tension that run deeper than what we have now (unfortunately), similar to that of the Dominican Republican and Argentina.

Don't get me wrong; I acknowledge the fact that there are folks who would not necessarily be considered the most tolerant, and that our nation does have a dark history, but for the most part, we have come a long way in being able to treat people with different backgrounds with the respect and dignity they deserve.

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, some of us have maybe begun to reflect on the various things we are grateful for. Some of us may go with the cliché, "I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in every night," but we all clearly have much more to be thankful for this year.

Alissa Lopez is a Fall 2016 CBLPI Fellow.