I spend a lot of time complaining about the state of our society. Regular readers know I've had my fill of disrespect, complacency and indifference, driven mostly by a pop-culture- and self-focused Internet age.
But today, the day after our country's birthday, I'd like to point out something that I think people nowadays do right: charity.
I don't know if it's just reported more or if it's a product of so many people being more willing to help each other after the devastation of the middle class. Maybe it's a positive result of the ubiquitousness of social media (he said begrudgingly). It's likely a combination. But whatever the impetus, one of the things that still makes me proud of this country is our willingness to help and how much we help.
Take for instance Gwinnett's Aimee Copeland and Barrow's Tripp Halstead. Since the tragedies that befell both of these individuals, the outpouring of support and donations has been a constant. Whether it's money, time, vehicles or additions to their houses, these folks have been able to count on the community to have their backs. Just this week, a New York man's bike ride raised $155,000 to help pay the Halsteads' medical bills, which must be gargantuan, given the length of Tripp's hospital stay. That isn't chump change.
These acts of charity are heartening when done by the local community, but when strangers from 900 miles away act like this, it's enough to give me hope for America.
That type of giving has become a trend. It's sad that it has to follow so much tragedy, but how thankful we should all be that so many are willing to step up. Sandy Hook, Boston, Superstorm Sandy, Haitian earthquakes -- they all draw something from Americans that makes me proud.
The business world gets in on the act, too. It's hard to walk into a store nowadays without a cashier asking you if you want to donate to this cause or that one. And our public safety officials and military members often spend their time doing more than keeping us safe. Toys for Tots, Shop with a Cop, Give Burns the Boot -- just to name a few of their efforts -- all try to make the lives of children better.
And of course there are the charitable organizations and the churches. But those groups are made up of people, and it's the people I praise.
The man who gives up a day to help a cancer patient. The football team that cleans up after a tornado. The little girl who saves all her lunch money to donate to the Red Cross. The woman who volunteers at a soup kitchen. These are the people I have to think about when I get so infuriated about the things that are so wrong in this world. We have to cling to -- and be thankful for -- the people who try to make them right.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.