Friday, November 23, 2012

The Real One Percent

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the US.  Although some people think it’s about watching football, over-eating or sitting outside for hours to be first to the bargains, Thanksgiving is really about perspective.  We are asked to stop for a moment to be grateful for the good things in our lives:  family, friends, health, basic necessities, and living in America.

Despite talk about a widening gap between the rich and the rest, most of us are relatively well off.  Relative to the whole world, not just our isolated corner, more than half of the top 1% by income live in the US.  Spending power for people in most other counties pales in comparison.  We should spend some time being thankful for what we have instead of envying those with more.

We should even be thankful for things we take for granted, like indoor plumbing. Last Monday was World Toilet Day, to highlight the need for basic sanitation for almost one-third of the world’s population.  It sounds to us like a joke, but it’s deadly serious.  I found this article with a good summary of the situation.

“Despite all the advances in technology and modern conveniences, over 2 billion people around the world still do not have access to toilets. More than 1 billion people defecate out in the open! Lack of adequate sanitation is not only humiliating, it is a serious health issue that causes thousands of deaths every day.

Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under 5 which is attributed to the lack of accessible toilets. 1 child dies every 20 seconds.”  Without perspective, these facts are easy to ignore.  Even average Americans have a lot to be thankful for.

On a personal note, there’s not enough space to list all that I am thankful for, but I want to mention my gratitude to you, my readers.  When I started this project in June 2011, I was lucky if 4 or 5 people read my opinions each day.  By the beginning of this year I reached my first 1,000 pageviews, and by the middle of July I was up to 4,000.  As of yesterday morning I surpassed 20,000. with pageviews running at a pace of about 50,000 per year, most from the US, but also from 60 other countries.  Now that’s peanuts compared to the big websites, but still I am thrilled to be able to share my thoughts with so many.  So thank you, all!

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