Monday, January 14, 2008


This is a weird one for me. I've always been leery of people claiming to be "proud to be an American". To me, pride is a foreign concept but should be associated with personal accomplishments or, at least, something that participated in significantly. Just being born isn't really a justifiable cause for pride.

Nevertheless, I find myself contemplating being a privileged citizen of the United States of America. I didn't deserve to be born here nor did I earn the rights and privileges. So I ponder the privilege and the responsibility that I feel goes with it. The responsibilities I feel aren't the drive to fight (and risk death) against our "enemies", the drive to export our way of life, to absorb the rest of the world into our demesne.

No, rather, I feel the need to extend the way our government is, by law, required to treat its citizens to the people who are not our citizens. When someone, for whatever reason, comes into the control of any branch of the U.S. government (e.g. the legal system, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the military, the CIA, etc.) they should be accorded all rights accorded to citizens.

I am aware that the Declaration of Independence is not a document with legal standing but, oh, how I wish that the first sentence of the preamble:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

...was included in the Constitution!

Now, allowing that "men" means "people" (and some would like to extend that to "beings"), it would seem that, being equal, all people should be accorded those "unalienable Rights" regardless of their nationality and even discounting their animosity toward our nation. That, alone, might reduce some of the animosity we've earned during the "war on terror".

As opposed as I am to some of the actions of our administrations through the years, I do not oppose our form of government. There are many changes I would make but I would not suggest that they be made except through the system that the Constitution put in place. Even with our human failings, the framework is good.

I understand that I have the unearned privilege of being a citizen of the United States of America and because I am a voting citizen I can make more of a difference by participating than by withdrawing. Making change happen means more than paying taxes and voting, though. How can I use my privilege to make the world a better place?

I am grateful that I am a citizen of the United States of America.

Taarna's question: What do I value most? I value the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United State of America and believe that our government should extend these inherent privileges when dealing with nations and people at all levels.

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