IT’S BEEN A ROUGH YEAR FOR the United States. From church shootings to widespread unrest and police brutality to a particularly nasty Presidential campaign, there have been a lot of reasons to feel discouraged about the state of the States.
But it’s Thanksgiving, and this is still a pretty great place to live. Here are some things you can be grateful for living in the U.S.
This is literally the least violent time to be alive. Ever.
It might not seem like it if you watch a lot of news or follow current events, but violence has always been a pretty common part of being human, and it has steadily been declining for centuries. In Steven Pinker’s 2011 book, The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, he points out that overall, humans have become less violent over our long history (even during the 20th century), and how this has a lot to do with the fact that we have more just systems of government, more respect for women, increased literacy, increased trade, and increased knowledge.
Try to keep that in mind the next time you see a horrific act of violence on the news: overall, things are getting better, even if those better things aren’t getting the same news coverage.
American beer is so damn good now.
Americans taste in beer has shot through the roof. For years, the United States was ranked as the worst beer country. This was based off our mass-produced atrocities like Coors Light and Milwaukee’s Best. No more. Beer here is delicious now. And we’re starting to get better cider, wine, and booze, too.
It’s much easier to find love in America than it has been in the past.
You know what people did in the past when they wanted to find someone to date? They went to bars. Loud, thumpa-thumpa bars, where they had to find someone who seemed nice, buy them a drink, and risk immediate rejection just to see if that person maybe shared some of the same interests as them. Otherwise, they just had to marry someone they went to church or high school with.
Online dating is still extremely new, but it has cut out a lot of the really terrible parts of dating. Rejection’s still a thing, but it happens less publicly, and you can at least start talking to someone with the knowledge that they share at least some of your common interests. In 2013, a full third of new marriages in the U.S. started online. Dating may still be hard, but it used to be much harder. Thanks, internet!
You basically know everything.
About 87% of Americans have access to the internet. This means that 87% of Americans have access to more information than any other person pre-internet ever had. Have you ever sat at a bar lately, and gotten into a discussion about who it was that first sang “Dancing in the Moonlight” and then immediately Googled it to find out who it was? Yeah, in the past, people had to just not know that thing until they came across the album in a record store, or flitted past that particular bit of trivia in a book.
It was King Harvest, by the way.
Clean drinking water.
This has always been an abstract issue for me: I’ve heard the UN figures about how 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to adequate sanitation, and how 780 million don’t have access to clean drinking water.
The issue became much more immediate for me on a recent trip to Mexico where, despite my efforts to avoid the water, avoid ice, and avoid raw vegetables, I must have at some point imbibed unclean drinking water. I’ll spare you the details, but I returned to the United States feeling much more appreciative that clean water is not a worry for me.
Sushi is delicious, and you can get decent sushi pretty much anywhere in the U.S. now (even in my home state of Ohio, which is most certainly not ocean-adjacent). But it was not a thing in America until the 1960s, and it was not widespread for another 30 years after that.
This awesome country you live in is now a true culinary melting pot, with foods like sushi, pho, curry, and falafel being country-wide staples, instead of rare exotic delicacies. Welcome to the future.
Okay, so Adele belongs to the whole world. But can a world with Adele really be that bad?