Friday, January 09, 2009

What America Is To Me

What do you think America is?

How would define what America is? Is it the freedoms that we enjoy that other countries don't. Is it your freedom to speak your mind, worship the God you want, the freedom of the press to bring you the news of your country with out the pressure of the government telling them what to tell you. Is it your right to bare arms. Your right to personal protection of self and property. Is it the right to protect you against illegal search and seizure. The right to be innocent before being proven guilty. The right not to make your self guilty and to be tried in an open court by a jury of your peers, also the right to face your accuser. It is also reassuring to know that the punishment shall fit the crime and the is no cruel and unusual punishment. These are the rights prescribed by the Bill of Rights. Probably one of the most nation-shaping document next to the Constitution.

But what else makes America, America? Is it the you can go from being a low level income family to being college professor. That opportunity is out there for you to just wake up and grab. Look at what some people where able to do with the opportunity that was given to them.

There was Dave Thomas. He was born to adopted parents in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He never met his real parents. He worked in the restaurant business from the age of 12. He then went into the Army where he went to cooks and bakers school. Upon discharge he was given the opportunity to turn around a failing KFC. He did and caught the attention of Col. Sanders. With him, Thomas revamped the menu and help the revolutionized the fast food industry.

From there he went and founded Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio. It is now the third largest chain in the world be hind McDonald's and Burger King with 6,700 locations. All this from a high school dropout. Dave Thomas died Jan. 8, 2002.

Another master of opportunity is that of Bill Gates. I think we all know his story from Harvard drop out to founder of the most used operating system for computers on the planet. He revolutionized the operating system process and sold it to the masses. He also introduce the notion of licensing software to make money for software writers.

There are millions of others who have come from all other walks of lives to make themselves more than what they were. But is that all that makes America, America?

Is what makes America, America, is that we get to vote for our leaders. They are not permanently imposed on us, or under the guise of a dictatorship or socialist/communistic rule. We have open, public elections, in which now those who meet the minimum standards of being 18 years old, a registered citizen and not committed a felony and still under probation of see your parole officer. Though it wasn't ways like this. It was first just land owner who were white and over 21. It wasn't till we had the Civil War that blacks were allowed to vote. Then came the direct voting for Senators in 1913. Women didn't obtain the right to vote until 1920. Finally the age was lowered to 18 in 1971. As you can see, our voting history may not have been the fairest to the people in sense that some were excluded for so long, but the process, the electoral college is maybe the fairest and most argued process out there.

What the Electoral College is, is an indirect election. In elections, the college has pledge to place the electorates that state has for the popular choice in the general election. They don't have too. The Electoral College can vote for whom ever they want, but as stated, the pledge to vote the way of the people. There are many argument for and against the college, that we should use a direct popular vote. That it give too much clout to swing states. Those for the college state that it is the only fair way to do it because it give equal weight based on the population of a state. Without the college, most elections could be won with just campaigning in California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida. There are many more arguments for and against, and we have all been over them and that is the great thing about America, is that we can question out leaders. If we don't like what they are doing we can elect someone else next time, and if they are doing are really horrendous job we can call for impeachment of for recall.

America is also a place where ideas can flow like a river in our free public school system and our colleges and universities. People from all over the world come here to learn. A great many of us take out educations here for granted and don't appreciate what we have here. Places of higher learning were we can go and advance ourselves. We have the best schools for engineering, law, medicine, computer science, and so on and so forth. Most of our schools are even state funded and there are grants, loans and scholarship of all kind available out there. We just have to have the will and the want to go look for them. If we only put forth the effort that foreigners do when they are in our education system then we wouldn't need a “No Child Left Behind” programs.

Let us not forget that America has its own dark chapters. The biggest and perhaps still prevailing is the civil rights issue. Though great strides this past year, as a black man has risen to the highest office in all the land. Still there is a great divide in this country. Then there is the treatment of the original Americans. We have persecuted, hunted, cheated and abused the rights of the Native American. No sin is greater than that. There has been many growing pains in America and not all of them have ended well. We have fought and scraped and even try to kill our selves from the inside-out with the Civil War. Perhaps we shall all have a time to fight in this country, let us hope it is not with each other again.

But for every evil dark time, there has been a gleaming ray of hope. The birth of the nation from upstarts who would not be controlled from a king 3000 miles away, and a founding President who took the title with the notion that he would set it aside and let other be elected to lead and no one shall ever rule this land. To a unified country that referred to it self as the The United States and the bulwarks of a government of, by and for the people remained intact. The creation of manned flight by the Wright brothers to Charles Lindberg's Atlantic trip. From John Glenn and Alan B. Shepard in there short space journeys to Neil saying “One step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Tl the invention of the microchip and the advent of Moore's law. We have either been the first in something or have done it the best.

America to me is all these things an more. More than I could express in any Online Blog, message forum or in any number of volumes of book if I were to ever write so much. America as I can best sum up is an idea of freedom and the good and the bad that goes with it. It will never be perfect. Nothing of man ever is. But it is the closest to the fairest and most revered. By the grace of any god that you may ascribe to or to which believe you have faith in, may it watch over the United States of America.

Now what do you think America is to you?

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