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Friday, November 7, 2008

What It Means to Be an American

If you list all the hats you wear in your life…wife, teacher, author, mother…where does American fall? For many of us, it’s near the top of the list. I do this activity with various writer’s group, and inevitably, I find American somewhere fifth, sixth, sometimes seventh on that list. Right now, it hovers closer to the top, because the election always reminds me how lucky I am to have the right to vote, to have a say in what happens in my country. When writers list all the roles they assume throughout the day, the week, the month, their life, somewhere down that list, we all come around to it eventually. Why? Because we know what people who don’t live here don’t…being an American, though sometimes taken for granted, rocks. Freedom of speech, of religion, to chase that elusive dream. We have it all, no matter the downside. But how many of us, on that list, put down Republican? Or Democrat? We don’t, because both McCain and Obama said it Tuesday, in their various speeches. Once this election ended, we must come together, forget our differences, and remember, we’re not red America and we’re not blue America. We’re the United States of America, for better or worse.

If you’re patriotic – whether you hang out on the left, the right, or try to straddle somewhere in the middle – you recognize that when it’s all said and done, we have to remember that one of those labels we embrace everyday is American. If you ever doubt it, watch this video of 6-8 year olds singing our National Anthem at a Texas Tech basketball game last year. It’s one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever heard, and should send that surge through you… Man, I wouldn’t wanna live anywhere else.


Michael said...

Oh wow!!!!! Barri, thank you! That is one of the most incredible and inspiring videos I have ever seen. You have been a teacher, heck, you were my son's teacher, so you know what it takes to inspire children to believe in themselves enough to pull off something like that. Not only does it stir the patriot inside me, but it also reinforces my faith in our children.

I hope that every child and every parent in America gets to see that clip.

I say again, wow!

The Awakened One said...

Well, you know, I am inspired. And I am happy that our country and world will be going in a new direction because of who we elected. But I HAVE to say this. I was horrified by the votes around this country for intolerance. In California they voted in favor of better livestock treatment and took the rights away from humans. I am all for basic decency regarding the treatment of chickens and veal calves. But the idea that people could go into a voting booth, strike a positive moral stand for chickens, and then do exactly the opposite for human beings, really leaves me breathless. THAT tells me that this country still has a looooooooong way to go.

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