United States Awarded “Most Charitable Nation”

It is the season of giving, and the United States is in the holiday spirit. Amid all the commercialization of the holidays, the emphasis on toys, candy, and food, and the children who look forward to this time all year long the United States still remembers the old adage that “it is better to give than to receive”. America was polled, in a recent worldwide survey, as the most charitable nation on Earth. Amid all the political turmoil, financial trouble, Occupy protests, and interclass back biting we somehow find a way to be decent people. The truth is that this is still the greatest country on Earth, no matter what the news will tell you; and it is not even close. You would never guess this if you did not live in the country; the news (all news channels are guilty of this) portrays America as a violent, selfish, corrupt, stubborn, and uninvolved nation. The truth is absolutely the opposite.

Every day I see strangers stopping on the side of the road to help a stranded vehicle, neighbors are still willing to lend a helping hand to one another, doctors still help the poor free of charge, and a crowd of people will even brave an inferno to push a car off of a man they have never met. The poll showed Americans are the most willing people to give, and some even give their lives. From a man saving a child from drowning to the roughly 6200 brave soldiers lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no other nation so willing to give all to help someone else live better, even people they have never met before. The fact is the news does not portray the reality of living in the United States. Living abroad, I found it shocking to find out most people do not even know their neighbors in some developed countries, let alone be willing to help when in need. The news focuses only on the darkest shadows of our nation because that is what sells; but the sun must be shining in order for shadows to be visible. The brighter the light is the more distinct the shadows will be, this is the reason so much of the news is so discouraging; the contrast is so clear to those of us who live here. I hope we never see the day that we turn on the TV to a breaking news story that a neighbor lent his tools or helped load a moving truck. This would mean that such an event would actually be rare enough to be considered noteworthy; it would be the exception, not the rule. Thankfully the gangs, killings, crimes—both main street and Wall Street—and political scandals are the feature stories on the news; this in itself shows that these events are not the rule, they are the exception: the exception to the greatest place to make your home.

“In spite of economic hardships and uncertainty in the future, the American spirit is caring and strong, as these survey findings clearly show,” said CEO David Verne of the charity consultant firm CAFAmerica. The World Giving Index polls show that 67% of Americans donated money to those in need, 43% volunteered time, and 73% had stopped to help a stranger in the month prior to the survey. We see many charities like the one sponsored by Kroger grocery stores to help provide a Christmas meal to those who cannot afford it. The United States is the richest nation in the world, but that does not mean we are not a giving people.

The people of this great nation are not the only body generously giving; despite all the criticism leveled against its faults, it would be very difficult to argue that the United States government is not charitable. With the United States spending close to $40 billion in non-military aid. This includes billions of dollars in support for nations facing crises such as Afghanistan ($3,932,734,000), Israel ($3,000,000,000), Egypt ($1,558,000,000), Pakistan ($3,053,600,000), Iraq ($729,310,000), Ethiopia ($583,519,000), Sudan ($439,979,000), Columbia ($464,393,000), and Mexico ($346,562,000) to name just a few. The report in its entirety can be viewed here (the 2011 country by country breakdown begins on page 29). Including military aid (i.e. defense and security upgrades, military training, weapons development, and other forms of military aid not included in the fighting of wars) the US government provided nearly $1.3 trillion (the map and totals can be seen here). Afghanistan, followed by Israel, Pakistan, and Egypt all received over $1.25 billion. The government not only gives to other nations but is undoubtedly very generous to our own people. Welfare and entitlement spending total almost $1 trillion in the United States, providing many luxuries for families living at or below poverty. The American poverty line is $24,500 for a small family. This is higher than the total average income of every nation in the world save only seven. In fact, the average world income per year, including the United States, is $7,000. That means the poor in our country live better than kings in other countries, with luxuries like air conditioning, satellite TV, high speed internet, and video game systems many countries can only dream of.

There are yet still more amazing giving numbers in the United States. The American Red Cross estimates that they provided urgent assistance to 5.3 million families in 2011, and vaccinated their one billionth child from the measles this year. This is not counting the millions of man-hours volunteered under the Red Cross name to help those in need. The Mormon–or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), as they are properly called–Church’s ability and willingness to help disaster relief came to light in their speedy and charitable response during hurricane Katrina; that has continued this year when news casts across the country reported thousands of Mormon volunteers helping clean up after tornadoes. Each year the Mormon Church spends as much as $90 million in disaster aid worldwide* and continues donate thousands of volunteer hours to help those in need. Furthermore, thousands of charities make their home in America, including some of the most influential in the world like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Jude’s hospital, the American Cancer Society Inc. Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, and many more.

The United States is charitable, there is no question about that; from each private citizen, to non-profit organizations and charities, right up to the government itself the United States gives generously. There is a sense of pride during the holidays that comes from bringing others joy, a happiness and fulfillment which is gained by bestowing the perfect gift. In this great nation, despite the shadows, we continue to be a light to the world and a city on the city on the hill the founding fathers envisioned us as. America, be proud of your generosity, and thank you for giving. Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

*editor’s note: the Mormon Church is certainly not the only church which donated time, supplies, or money to relief efforts. Many other churches did so as well, and did so generously. The Mormon Church is singled out in this article because the thesis of the essay is centered on American generosity. The Mormon Church is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah; unlike the Catholic Church based in the Vatican, the Mormon Church was founded in our nation and is based in our nation which, despite worldwide membership, qualifies Mormons as an “American church” for the purposes of this article. Unlike other popular churches in America, the Mormon Church has a distinct central structure; due to a lack of central structure among many other American religions, patriotslog was unable to find reliable data to determine how much was given by other faiths. This does not mean other faiths are not charitable, as there are countless examples of individual congregations of one faith giving to those in need. patriotslog welcomes data or research of other “American” churches with central organization which has data available, and will gladly update the article if any data is submitted.

24 December 2011

–Matt Young

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About patriotslog

I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on December 24, 2011, in Patriotslog Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. At this point, Romney the Mormon is the party s front runner a fact that is giving fundies a bad case of diarrhea.

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