On Being an American
I received many nice comments on my previous post. You never know what subject is going to stir the interest of others enough to comment. Like all of us, I read many blogs daily that I don’t comment on and some that I feel I must comment on. It’s always nice to get the attention.
But one of the comments requires this response. This commenter wondered why I still cared about what is happening in the US since I don’t live there and haven’t for some time. She said she was proud of me for still caring (blush). I think she already knows the answer but I felt I had to say it anyway.
I have always been deeply proud to be an American. Admittedly, I have been almost arrogant about it, at least inside myself. Being an American has always meant being from the country that is the hub of freedom in the world. America has truly been the guiding light for others around the world, showing that democracy, tolerance and liberty are not only possible, but can be successful, and can be the goal of all countries and peoples, everywhere.
People have never had to escape from America. People escape to America. Mexicans and South Americans cross our border in droves seeking jobs as field laborers or maids, willing to work at back-breaking jobs so they can send a little money home to support their desperately poor families. Cubans risk life and limb to reach our shores to escape the hopelessness that is the Castro regime. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese found hope here, after having to escape the communists after the war. And Chinese people undergo horrid hardships attempting to get to America in cargo ship holds, hoping for a better life-for freedom.
The Irish, Germans, Poles, Italians, Puerto Ricans have all sought a new life here. Yes, we have always been arrogant about our country, proud that we have the reputation of being the one place on earth that will accept, even welcome, those seeking a taste of liberty and freedom.
In New York harbor there is a statue of a beautiful lady. On her base it says, “…Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse from your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless tempest tossed to me. I lift my light beside the golden door”.
I was fortunate enough to have seen the kind of hardship and poverty that were so common among these people. Seeing that, which most Americans don’t, is very humbling. It also makes one recognize just how very lucky we are to live in a country that regards personal freedom, liberty, opportunity and choice as God given rights to be enjoyed by everyone.
Now, these things are all changing. The freedoms are eroding. Opportunities are disappearing. Corruption, even at the highest levels is becoming commonplace. The government is no longer one ‘of the people, for the people, and by the people’, but has become perverse, like a parent that beats a child and then dares the child to try to do something about it.
American people are afraid. Afraid to walk the streets at night. Afraid to let their children out of their sight. Afraid that their job will be outsourced or eliminated. Afraid that their medical insurance will deteriorate. Afraid that their child’s education has become second rate. Afraid that they can’t pay their taxes, let alone save any money. Afraid that al Queda is lurking just outside their door. And the government tells us to be afraid. They want us to be afraid. So afraid that we will allow them to do anything that they say will protect us from this outside evil. Even if that means the loss of our freedoms, our liberties and our opportunities.
The evil to be afraid of is not outside. The evil is greed and the hunger for power, and it lives and thrives, not in Baghdad, but in Washington. And it is going to get worse, not better.
I love my country. My father, bless him, left me his copies of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. Actually on parchment. I have read them so many times. I have always been in awe of the foresight of our founding fathers. What the people then were willing to endure in order to gain freedom for themselves and their posterity.
I detest the way the current administration has perverted those values. I am saddened and disappointed at the apathy of the American people in dealing with it. I am sickened as I watch our congress, more concerned with their reelections and the funding they receive from special interest groups, allow the exectutive branch to dominate and control the judicial and legislative branches of our government, destroy the balance of power, and strip away, even criminally, the liberties our forefathers demanded and our soldiers in every war have fought and died for. I am disgusted as I watch them, republicans and democrats alike, drink the urine from the White House penis.
Our forefathers never said, “America, love it or leave it”. They never said, “America, right or wrong”. What they did say was….
…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So, I guess this is what I meant, 38 years ago, when I wrote that poem. Those white house penises are pointed at you now, America. Either keep your mouth open and drink as you have been doing, or reach out, squeeze hard, and shut off the flow.