Monday, January 26, 2009

America - "We, the People..."

Teotihuacan, the Mexican Riviera, the Missions of the Sierra Gorda mountains, the ruins of ancient cities and beautiful, romantic historical, Mexican towns – for nearly two years our young family has had the privilege of living in and learning about the country of Mexico. We have been touched by the simple sincerity of these people, the beauty of the countryside and the unique history of this culture.

Yet, when our family visits home and sees once again the Star Spangled Banner of the United States of America soaring on our border – I shed tears. These tears are tears of gratitude; gratitude for our freedoms which are not shared by many in our world. I shed tears of joy; joy to be once again in my land – the land of my birth. As the tears fall and my words are choked back I realize that I have come to love America more because I have been blessed to live beyond her borders and to see what our dear country offers us, her citizens.

I love that we have the right to bear arms. I love that we have the freedom of speech. I love that our religions are not mandated. I love that our government works to provide programs to help the downtrodden in our own country and around the world. I love that we can serve our country if we have the desire to serve. I love the collective goodness of our people. I love that our citizens are traveling around the world to help others in need – whether it be through churches, foundations or government. I love meeting Americans in foreign countries and hearing of their efforts to serve and make a difference in our world. I love that I belong in America and I love that America is a part of me – no matter where I am in our world.

As I have encountered the world I have come to respect the values, views and voices of wonderful people – I found that we have common interests and similar hopes. I have found that people view America as friendly and at times frightening; hopeful, helpful and at times hurtful. America’s arm of fellowship is often stretched out to welcome, to assist and to aid others. Yet, I know we can do better. America’s hope for democracy and free people throughout our world is a true and just cause – it is worth fighting for. America is full of hope and our land symbolizes that hope for so many in our world. We must live up to that expectation.

America is a country; America is a symbol; America is a beacon; but above all America is a people.

It is my hope that with all the division that we feel as Americans – whatever the root cause of our division – I hope that we, individually, can see past our disagreements and realize that ultimately we are Americans. We must learn that our disagreements can be civil. An argument can be stated and left in the hands of our fellow citizens for deciding. We must trust and respect one another sufficiently to realize that the “voice of the people” will either speak for us or against us individually; yet, that voice is the voice of America collectively. We must respect not only the voices of those who agree with us – but respect the voices of those who do not agree The ability to declare our stance on issues, listen to the views of others and then vote according to the mandates of our conscience is at the heart of our democracy. We are “the people” and we are the voice of America. .

We are a country; we are a symbol; we are a beacon; we are “the people”. We can stand as a hope to the world.

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