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Happy Birthday (op/ed)

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posted on Jul, 4 2006 @ 12:34 PM
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Sometimes ya just wanna say something. There are no links, just my own opinion.

What is it that makes us Americans? Is it place? No, many in both North and South America object to us calling ourselves Americans, like the people of the united States are exclusively "The Americans". Such protesters point out accurately that a Canadian or a Mexican or Brazilian are as much Americans as we are since after all they live on the American continents as well. So no, it is not place. What makes us Americans, for lack of a better word, is more than anything, a state of mind, not a state or nation. Despite all the protests about illegal aliens not learning the language, a quick survey shows that actually they do. They understand to make it here they must speak english. Many of our parents and grand and great grandparents never fully let go of their former homes, culture and language or assimilated, and left it up to future generations to assimilate, and assimilate they did. Contrast this to Europe and the problem they have with aliens failing to join the national fabric, be them Muslim or not. The people who come here, legally or illegally want to fit in, they want to be part of that is America, and this is one of the sure signs that we are successful. There is nothing more American and anti-American as the dislike of foreigners coming over here. People have complained about the Irish, the Poles, the French, the Italians and Chinese since day one, and that is not about to change. At the same time America the refuge is one of the very things that have made us great and have made us noble.
And, noble we are... some of the finest ideas and institutions mankind has ever created are American. At the head of the list are the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights and the Constituition. Would that we could live up to them. It is the disconnect between our very high and noble ideals and the actuality of our behavior in the world that creates much of the resentment towards us. After all, no other country has expounded such high and mighty aims. Some like France, taking after us, have uttered lofty goals, but in all reality they were meant for internal consumption... we consider ours a major export.
The separation of church and state is another grand and wonderful concept... granted one that is under a lot of attacks these days but still. It was the Baptists that originally insisted upon it to be inserted into the Bill of Rights to protect them from attacks by the Church of England but in all reality it was at the least 200 years of previous history that lead to it...the horrid destruction, intolerance and bloodshed of the protestant reformation and the catholic counter-reformation, the 30 years war and the early colonial years where religious intolerance as much as anything lead to the creation of the various colonies. That the idea of a person's approach to God is profoundly private and that it should remain so is one of the greatest achievements of our nation.
That every person has the chance and opportunity to better their lives and to "become somebody" is at the heart and soul of our great nation. This is the American dream. Before this simple idea was the notion that birth and wealth made the person...nobleman and peasant, and to one..."the world is mine oyster which with my sword I do open" and to the other, "toil and abasement for the duration of their days." America did not invent the middle class, merchants and city people existed before then but they were still considered commoners but it took America to raise the common man to the station of requiring a fanfare. We made being ordinary, noble.
We care for our land, the good earth, America the Beautiful, though we could do better. Education is open to all if they want it, We strive, sometimes reluctantly or resentfully to give a leg up to the less fortunate. We believe in a better way and if we do not achieve it, we at least dream of it. Our people are far better than our government which more than anything represents our less than noble characteristics. And against this backdrop, we wage war against other ideas that stand in stark contrast with our own. Are we right and they wrong or is it more it is a matter of two opposing dreams? Only ideas keep us apart.
Can America live up to its rhetoric? No of course not, but our ideals, the ideals that make us who we are give us something to strive for and are large enough to be rewritten for each successive generation and still have meaning, and will remain so as long as the are valued as an actual inspiration and not an empty shell of words spouted by callow politicians. It is us, the grunts, the rank and file, the common man that makes this country great and gives it meaning for so many others around the world. Not the fat cats, the "to the purple born" or the trust fund babies born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It is those men and women who started nowhere and grew into their roles who made this country. I would love to keep it that way. That is the America that means something, not some Madison Ave, marketing ploy. It is us...US, we the people that we actually celebrate this day. Happy fourth of July.

Have a good barbeque and fireworks, pay no attention to the small man spout platitudes but look at your frends and family and know what really makes America great.



[edit on 4-7-2006 by UM_Gazz]




posted on Jul, 8 2006 @ 09:12 PM
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BRAVO!!!!!!



Well said, well written and well received.

Your my WATS this month Grover. (well one of three)

I can't really find anything to argue with you about on that. Shocking,,


Semper



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