Un-Grateful Americans?

An adaptation of “The David Letterman” rant on American attitudes....
Several years ago, the popular talk-show host, David Letterman, began his night time show with the following words on America and our attitudes.

“As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark. Maybe you hear how bad the President is on the news or a talk show. Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it. Are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain? ”

His comments were in relation to the Newsweek magazine article and poll that alleged about 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and the state of the USA in 2008.  In essence, the article was saying that 2/3 of the country is negative about the condition of our country and they want a change. Of course, that is assuming we are only thinking about the government. This all made me think about what we have here in America and not just about what we would like to see changed.
So, Letterman goes on to ask the question, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?
B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?
C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?
D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store and see more food than Darfur has seen in the last year?
E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the
Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.
F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that provide temporary shelter?
G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.
H. Or could it be that we are unhappy because when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital if you need it.
I. Perhaps you are unhappy because you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.
K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many
flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.
L. Could it be that we are unhappy with a few things but forget that we live in a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents.                                                                                                                M. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones or computers or cars.
N. How about the complete religious, social, and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of the world?                            
“Maybe that is what has 67% of people in America unhappy.”

Quite a lengthy sermon from a man who has the ear of the nation and a larger pulpit than most ministers in America. Maybe we have lost our gratitude and willingness to focus upon the beauty around us. Letterman completes the rant with these closing thoughts:

“Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.”  

Most of us heard those comments or read those comments and felt a bit of conviction for any one of the enumerations he detailed. I’m not asking that we turn the other cheek and settle for mediocrity. I am not asking that we build a Pollyanna façade of a nation that isn’t willing to look deep into our hearts to find injustice and to rid ourselves of it. Just blogging for a little gratitude for the place we find ourselves in.

The media knows that if it bleeds, it leads the next day. For-profit organizations understand what sells.  Everybody will watch a car or a murder scene, but how many want to hear about the students at the local high school who are serving on a mission in some third-world country to help the poor?  When is the last time the evening news led in with a story on the growing number of teens who are saying no to pre-marital sex? Let me ask you to think about this list of gratitudes Letterman has placed before us and to come up with many more of your own. I know we are living in the face of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and moral declination. But, to see the blessings from God that surround us should place our focus upon the goodness of God.  And that goodness, Paul said in Romans 2:4, is the kindness of the Lord that leads us to repentance.

Thank you Mr. Letterman for moving us into the right direction with these thoughts.