October 31, 2008
I was in Mae Sot, Thailand, with geckos scampering up the wall, watching American kids dance out their sexual fantasies on MTV. Then I turned to CNN International and heard expressionless news anchors speak of dangers to the planet and talk in grim tones about all things American. This, along with Madonna, Brittany and Angelina is what the people of the world see as America. But what exactly is the America they should see?
Back home people cue up for Starbucks, grasping not only the coffee cups but the status they represent. I join long drive-thru lines at McDonald’s with fellow citizens, eager to enjoy the fattening faire. I stand in line for movies, popcorn and, yes, even at the Apple Computer Store eagerly examining the latest gadgets. And I ask myself … is this what it means to be an American?
I see commercials on TV featuring people with faces and colors of every kind saying, “I’m an American.” And I know they are, but what is that … exactly?
A young woman raised in the American “heartland,” educated in the finest schools, articulate, intelligent recently mused aloud that in this multicultural world in which we live, she wasn’t exactly sure just what American culture is.
Maybe things have become so blurred there is no easy answer to this, but I rise to the challenge to put words to what it certainly used to mean—and what it still does, if only we were free to celebrate it as we once did and pass it on to kids in school and immigrants eagerly entering our borders.
To be an American is to work hard, to toil by the sweat of your brow, the more sweat, the more gain; to be free of harsh overlords; to be responsible for your own life and family; to fail or succeed without unfair impediments or emasculating help. If some Americans have forgotten this concept, they need only look to our Vietnamese, Korean, Mexican or Indian immigrants to see the American “dream,” devoid of class distinction, enable people who work hard to succeed.
To be an American is to be honest, to play by the rules, to respect law. It is to love family and—in spite of the divorce rate—to aspire to love for a lifetime the partner of your youth. It is to be good parents to children and good children to parents. It is to keep commitments and play hard; to keep a sense of humor about ourselves; to help others; to worship freely; to raucously engage in open debate on politics, religion and all else; to love sports and music and the arts; to pay our bills and mow our grass; to be independent, self-sufficient, but able to help those less fortunate.
To be American is to help other nations in need; to intercede on behalf of those who are oppressed; to rush to the aid of Tsunami and earthquake and flood victims with generosity and compassion. It is to treasure America and its unique story—the sacrifice of the Founding Fathers and Mothers and pioneers and leaders who took us through wars and depressions and civil strife. And above all, to be American is to love freedom for ourselves and for others. Of no other nation on the earth can this be said.
That’s why we fight right now … to retain this unique “American-ness.” To share the wealth, not as Barack Obama admonished “Joe the Plumber,” but as individuals, taking the full measure of our responsibility, not having our hard-earned dollars taken from us to defeat that will to succeed in others.
We fight to retain the family itself. While Obama and his leftist friends would redefine it, fracture it and move family members to reliance on an unreliable government, we stand opposed.
We fight to protect life. Americans have always treasured life, babies, soldiers, lost children. We will continue to fight those who would take the utilitarian path to viewing some lives unworthy. That path has been clearly articulated by Barack Obama who expressed concern that his daughters shouldn’t be “punished” with a baby and, again, in his defense of killing of born babies intended for abortion as a matter of “fairness” to the mother.
We fight to protect ourselves from foreign enemies and we reject any leader who has adopted principles that would draw our own enemies to his side in support. When Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Moammar Khadafi, Marxist Raila Odinga and leaders of Hamas and Iran express support for a presidential candidate like Barack Obama, we will not be silent. When Obama associates with, finances and champions an inner circle whose common thread is hatred of America, like Frank Marshall Davis, William Ayres and Jeremiah Wright, we recoil in natural self-preservation. In the spirit of our forefathers, we resist. We resist any leader who would be content to watch America decline in a purported pursuit of fairness, who, even as he is aspiring to lead this land, would absorb himself in a book entitled “The Post-American World,” which describes without regret America’s demise. We resist any leader who would view Europeans who disdain Americans as better friends than his own people, who would seek to silence dissent through so-called “truth-squads” and attempt to control thought through lies and deception.
We will resist such a leader because some of us still understand the uniqueness of what it means to be an American. It is a moniker like no other and we will not stand by without a fight and watch it be defamed and destroyed.
The election is not over. We must defeat Barack Obama.