Proud to be an American

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So overall I had a nice 4th of July weekend, spent mostly with family and friends. There’s been a lot of personal stuff going on in my life lately (some of which I may or may not blog about at some point), so I haven’t really had a chance to digest some of the big national headlines. Many of my friends have been celebrating one of the big one, the Supreme Court decision that upholds gay marriage.

This sort of headline makes me proud to be an American. The United States of America was founded on the idea that all men (and women) are created equal, and should have equal rights under the law. It’s taken a very long time to encompass all of the country’s population, first starting with landowning white men, to all white men, to races of all color, to women, and now finally to homosexual and transgender men and women. Why should one couple who stay together for more than ten years be allowed tax breaks, hospital visitation, and medical decisions while another couple may not? Let religions decide if it is morally right or wrong, just as they do such things as eating pork, confessing sins to a priest, or working on the Sabbath or Sunday (take your pick).

Sadly, last week also had the terrible news about the church burning by a man professing to hate all blacks. So on the one hand we have a landmark decision taking us into the future. And at the same time, I see more and more polarization in the racial debates, both from this sad individual who thought it was a good idea to kill African Americans, as well as all the fury lately with white cops and black suspects getting shot or accidentally killed, sometimes with possibly good reason, and sometimes with no reason at all.

And don’t get me started on the Age of Entitlement, instant gratification, and the Fast Food Nation. Or the Kardashians. Please.

So there are times when I’m frankly rather embarrassed to be an American. This happens especially when I’m in a foreign country, attempting to communicate in another language without mangling it too badly, and I hear some rude comment in a loud American accept behind me. Or when I try to explain certain things to Europeans like the U.S. healthcare system.

But overall? Yeah, I’m still proud to be an American. Sure we’re loud, and we’re divisive at times, and even downright rude. But I appreciate the fact we have such diversity, and even when we complain about it, we’re allowed to be diverse. I think that’s probably the most important thing of all.

That and the right to be equal under law.

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