I am fairly middle-of-the-road. My lifestyle, my income, my beliefs are all largely inoffensive and moderate. But, there are a few things that are at the core of my being, beliefs that I will argue, debate and defend. One such belief is how fortunate I am to be an American citizen.
Even through the college days, while engaged in the Environmental Club, I knew beyond a doubt that there was no other country I would want to call home. In the times of the Gulf War, when even by closest friends were saying that we were killing people for oil, I kept my steadfast to my belief that this was the country in which I would stay and flourish. Why? Because, all through these events my young mind was able to recognize and appreciate that even these people who were alternating between blaming and moaning about their country were able to do it because they LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY! An imperative and a blessing.
Being an American comes with imperatives that include decisions, work, and exertion. In this country we have to work hard for what we value. And in doing so, the sky is the limit. While achieving our goals, we have many options available. There is no big brother telling us which path we must follow. And for this I am grateful. Taking responsibility for my own life means that while I may fumble and fail at times, the rewards will be all the greater because they are mine.
Blessings are abundant. But one particularly caught my attention yesterday. It is the freedom of religion. In reading about the plans of France to outlaw burkas, it dawned on me that this is part of their religious beliefs and the government is planning to make wearing them illegal. While I may not want to wear one personally, I can't imagine anyone telling me that it would be illegal to do so. I was outraged at the idea of a government making this type of decision. A basic right to practice religion, in a way that harms no one is possibly going to be outlawed there. Now, while the founding fathers may have had no intention of granting me freedom to wear ripped-up jean shorts and tank tops while doing yard work, it is part of the vast array of freedoms that I hold dear. I am thankful for being born into this country of responsibility and rewards and I wish everyone a Happy 4th!