The election results from earlier this month underscore we are a divided country.

How divided?

Unhappy with President Obama’s re-election, people from every state except Vermont have submitted petitions to a government-initiated website calling on the president to allow states to secede from the United States. A petition to allow Texas to secede has gained over 100,000 online signatures.

Of course none of the states will actually secede. The people who signed the petitions are just venting their frustrations. They might not like the man who was elected president, but they aren’t going anywhere.

That’s because they know we have it too good here in the United States — the greatest nation on Earth and one that is abundantly blessed. Even in tough economic times, with leadership that many find contemptible, it is still the best system going.

That is something to ponder this Thanksgiving.

Give thanks that we live in a country where we can vent our frustrations, vigorously speak our minds and even petition the government to secede without fear of government retaliation.

That is not the case in many parts of the world where bitterly contested elections result in violence or military coups. Not here. There was no bloodshed after the election. There were no violent demonstrations or government crackdowns.

The fact that we remain “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” after one of the most divisive elections in our history says something about the enduring state of our democracy.

It is something to be celebrated. But it is something we too often take for granted.

Most Americans will sit down with family and friends for a delicious Thanksgiving feast in the safety and comfort of their homes this week. Other Americans will celebrate the holiday with military rations in remote and dangerous outposts in the mountains of Afghanistan and in other distant lands.

Give thanks this week for the men and women who put the needs of our country above their own. They still believe enough in our country that they volunteer to put themselves in harms way so it can endure.

They are willing to sacrifice everything for the principles we hold so dear including the First Amendment right to petition the government. That is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving.