This is the ultimate conclusion reached by John Stossel in a recent ABC News 20/20 feature entitled "Are Americans Cheap? Or Charitable?"
We Americans get a bad rap because the American government gives away less of a percentage of GDP than many other countries. However, according to the report, private charitable giving, even giving directed to overseas charities, more than makes up for the gap, and makes America the most charitable nation on Earth.
I learned in my college history classes that one of the defining characteristics of American society is our history of voluntary association. We associate in communities, churches and congregations, businesses, clubs, sports teams, fraternities and sororities, non-profits, and often community aid and other organizations with a charitable mission. And we pony up real money to support these organizations and to fund our own voluntary association and that of others.
For all of our collective faults as a country, we do have a lot to be proud of, and a real legacy of positive contribution to continue.
I guess this 20/20 piece reminded me why I give, and why I often find myself asking others to give as well. We have to ask. And when asked, we do, despite popular opinion to the contrary, respond.
Thanks to all you givers out there!