Friday, July 4, 2008

The Big '232'

Happy birthday, America.

Alright, snicker away. It was cheesy when I saw it on the bowling alley sign, and it's cheesy now. I've been teased for much cheesier things. Ang guess what? I don't really care.

Being an American is something I'm quietly but solidly proud of. I realize I take a lot for granted as an American. I didn't choose this citizenship, I was born here. I've never lived outside the country; I don't even have a passport (and being a resident of Michigan, having been to Canada doesn't count as leaving the US). I don't have a degree in political science; I barely even watch CNN. I'm very willing to admit that I'm pretty ignorant of the advantages being an American has afforded me. And 'cause I'm a nice guy, just this once, I'll open up the comments for y'all to tell me just how lucky I am, because, well...I believe you. Just call me Forrest Gump.

I am proud of the ideals on which this country was built, and continues (most of the time) to be run. I'm proud of our rugged heritage, our multiculturalism, and our historical take-no-crap attitude. I'm proud that the United States has helped keep the world free from tyranny, in whatever person or form it may manifest itself. I'm proud that I can go anywhere in this country and enjoy the same freedoms, and I'm proud that I can choose another state to live in if I don't like Michigan's laws on guns, gambling, smoking, taxes, capital punishment, or even divorce. I'm proud that I can express my dissatisfaction when and how I want to. I'm proud that through our government system, I have an equal voice in deciding what laws are passed or struck down, and in who will represent me and my personal beliefs all the way to the three main branches of government. And I'm proud that I have that voice regardless of who my parents are, how much property I own, where I was raised, what my gender and race are, what language I speak, who I consort with, how much education I have, and whether I've served in the military.

We can take turns bashing America over lots of different things, and lots of people do every day. America has lots of faults, past and present. The place isn't perfect, our laws aren't perfect, and our presidents aren't perfect (some are more imperfect than others). But today let's focus not on what we don't have, but celebrate what we do, and be thankful for it.

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