Rwanda.   Think about that country for a minute.  How many people do you know that have been displaced from Rwanda and surrounding countries?  You might know one or two.  The book Left to Tell, by Immaculée Ilibagiza, a member of the Tutsi tribe, outlines the story of how she, Immaculée, survived the genocide of 1994, and remained hopeful through it.  In the book she tells of how she was separated from her parents, and then her brothers. She tells of how she was hiding in a bathroom at a moderate Hutus home, when his son was talking under the window and details when the local Hutus killed a tall Tutsi with a masters degree.  He and the other young man laughed about it, but Immaculée was devastated, knowing that her brother was one of the few people in the area who has a masters.  How many of us have had to go into hiding?  How many of us have had our siblings slaughtered, and then joked about, in front of us?  I doubt that any of us can.    

Here in America, we are privileged, privileged to not have the terrible things the Rwandans had happen.  We are privileged to live in peace with our neighbors even when they are different.  We are privileged with the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.  Our rights to bear arms, and remain silent.  The right to no unreasonable search and seizures of our property and persons.  Let’s begin our discovery of the privilege of America.

Every day, hundreds of people try to cross the U.S./Mexico border (  They come to the United States of America because of the aforementioned rights.  Many of us don’t realize what we have as citizens.  Isn’t it sad that our neighbors in other countries know more about, and want our freedoms more than we do?  Despite what it may feel like right now the US is one of the most stable countries in the world.  When we walk down the street we don’t have to worry about being physically attacked because of a specific group we are associated with.  Yes, we have our differences, but generally we are able to talk them out without violence.  

The United States has had a grand total of 1 civil war in the 244 years we have been a nation.  The nation of Yemen in the middle east, has had 2 civil wars since 1994, not counting the separate north and south Yemen civil wars, or the insurgencies of tribes and clans within Yemen.  Be grateful for the fact that you can do, say, and be whatever you want, as long as you don’t infringe on another’s rights. 

We are currently in the midst of a conflict of interests in the U.S.  Many people believe that their rights are more important than others.  The truth of this is that “All men [and women] are created equal.” (The Declaration of Independence)  No matter what others may say or believe, we have all been given equal opportunities. 

Let us take a moment to recognize the words of the song “American Saturday Night”, by Brad Paisley: 

“You know everywhere has something they’re known for

Although usually it washes up on our shores

My great great great granddaddy stepped off of that ship

I bet he never ever dreamed we’d have all this

You know everywhere has somethin’ they’re known for

Although usually it washes up on our shores

Little Italy, Chinatown, sittin’ there side by side

Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

 As a citizen of the United States we are given the privileges of America, some of which are listed in the preamble to the U.S. constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  

The people from foreign countries such as Rwanda, Mexico, and the Middle East have suffered so much hardship that it is obvious to them the privileges we have, even if we live on the streets of San Francisco.  We must remember this as we go about our day to day lives.  It will help us to see the good in our lives and others, and, most importantly it will help us to see the privileges we have as citizens of this great country.

God Bless the USA!