DEAR ABBY: On April 11 you asked what your readers think is right with American society. I'll bet you were inundated with responses to that question, and I hope you allow me to be one of those who answer it.
Here in Orange County, Calif., there are more than 5,000 volunteer organizations, supporting everything from the arts to zoos. Thousands of people give their time and money to help others and provide benefits to their community. And this is just one American county. If we counted the number of active volunteers in America doing good works, I'm sure the number would be in the millions. That is just one of the things that we're doing "right."
-- DIANE J., LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIF.
DEAR DIANE: Your hunch was on the money. I was swamped with letters and e-mails from readers wanting to contribute their thoughts. Today I'll share a sample, because I know they will bring a smile. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: What's right with our society? I believe it's our young people. I have been a church youth leader for 30 years. It's the most rewarding job in the world! Their willingness to share their love of life is exciting. They actively offer their opinions, and they have good ideas to express. This world needs color and variety, and I believe our youth are our hope for the future. -- JOHN T., SPRINGFIELD, ORE.
DEAR ABBY: I'm thankful for the Bill of Rights that has insured the freedoms we take for granted. I appreciate the safety net of Social Security that is in place for the disabled, the elderly and the orphaned. I'm grateful that medical technology reaches out to people whether in a big city or an isolated farming community. I applaud a process that allows voters to be informed about the ideas, policies, achievements and opinions of those seeking elected office.
But most of all, I'm thankful that transitions in our society which happen almost daily occur without violence or military intervention. It gives me hope for my grandchildren's future in a peace-loving country.
-- MARIE D., VERMILLION, S.D.
DEAR ABBY: I'm grateful to live in the United States, where I am free. I'm free to speak and move around the country. I am free to choose whom I elect as president without fear of suppression. I am free to choose my religion. I am free as a woman, not an entity that someone owns and dictates to.
Yes, we have our problems that need to be addressed. And now is the time for our voices to be heard. It IS "We" the people. -- GRATEFUL IN O'FALLON, ILL.
DEAR ABBY: I am a high school student in Lake Crystal, Minn. What's right about American society is our compassion. Not only do we help other countries in times of crisis, but we also care about our fellow Americans. Having family around the Twin Cities during the 35-W bridge collapse, my mind was at ease. I knew if I had family members in the collapse, they would be helped because I live in a country where people are born with the instinct to help others during a disaster. -- EVER HOPEFUL
DEAR ABBY: In our society we have the freedom to be whoever we want to be. The only thing holding anyone back in this country is him- or herself. -- KATHERINE IN RALEIGH, N.C.