Land of the free. These are words used to describe America, the place I was born and raised. I have truly never thought about what it means to be an American, but the more I think about it the more the words from our beloved National Anthem ring true. I have always lived a life of freedom, making choices freely and being the person I want to be and not who someone else tells me to be. This is not the case for people in many other countries. In some countries citizens are forced to be something they are not, forced to remain silent while they live in poverty.
Freedom in the United States is often taken for granted. It is not often that we remember how lucky we are to be able to make our own choices. Honestly, I do not think about it much myself. I never really think about how lucky I am to have been born in this country. I was born into freedom; it is the only thing I have ever known. I believe that America is an amazing place that is full of opportunity, and I believe that we should be thankful that we are free to make our own decisions.
With freedom comes opportunity. As Americans, what are we to do with our freedom? I believe this freedom we have been given should be used to benefit others. In this country we are free to do whatever we want, helping others is one way we can give back to the country that has given us this amazing gift. While I do believe America is an amazing place full of freedom and opportunity, I also believe there are things we could work on. Discrimination based on religion, race, sex, or any other differences plagues our great country. As Americans, I believe that we should focus on building our fellow citizens up instead of tearing them down, regardless of our differences.
The southern states play a very large part in this discrimination. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the south, it’s all I've ever known, but people here could definitely be more accepting. It should not matter that we are different. We all have something in common, even though we are also very different. America is known as a melting pot of cultures all around the world, but can it really be called that if the people separate themselves based on their differences? We judge people all the time without even realizing it. I am guilty of it myself. I believe that if we could all become a little more accepting of our differences then we truly could make America a better place. Growing up in a small town in Mississippi I have seen discrimination first hand. I have never believed that we should judge people based on their beliefs no matter how they differ from our own. Here in Puckett, Mississippi if your beliefs are different you definitely receive looks of disapproval. I have witnessed many people say they can not be friends or even hang out with someone due to their sexuality or race. This concept seems foreign to me because I believe that everyone should at least try to get along and not judge people.
Gender equality in the workplace is another area America could use some work. While we have come along way since the women's rights movements, wages between men and women still are not the same. For example, in the Fact Tank article, For Women’s History Month, A Look at Gender Gains – and Gaps – in The U.S., the author states, “Women’s median hourly earnings were $16.00 in 2016, up from $12.48 in 1980 (after adjusting for inflation). Men earned a median hourly wage of $19.23 in 2016, down slightly from $19.42 in 1980.” While we have made progress since 1980 there is still a gap between average pay for men and women. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a feminist but I do believe in equal pay for equal work.
Essentially, I believe that America is a wonderful place to live, a land of freedom and opportunity. Although I do believe we have some flaws such as discrimination and gender inequality, I will always believe that America is a wonderful place where people can come together and be free.