Sunday, October 11, 2009
I, like most, have many titles; one of which that I am most proud is American. As a first generation American, you are taught from a very young age to be grateful that you live in this country. Immigrants tend to stay within a community of immigrants. At first it is because you have come to a foreign land where everyone and everything is different and strange to you. For many, learning the language doesn’t happen until you get here. As such, when you’re a child you are exposed to heavy doses of your parents’ cultural norms all the while being an all American kid.
At the dinner table you hear all the stories of why your parents left their own land. In many cases you the lack of opportunities “back home”. That is the experience I had as a child. My parents proudly put out the flag on June 14 for Flag Day; something you don’t see many people doing anymore. Our flag was out on Memorial and Veterans Day. We had a picnic on the beach anxiously awaiting the fireworks on The Fourth of July. Me wearing my red white and blue summer garb. My relatives and their friends rarely missed an opportunity to tell me how lucky I was to grow up here.
Being an all American girl, I started to take too many things for granted. I started to expect things. As I have grown older and more educated I have seen for myself all the lessons that my family tried to teach me.
As I have read more about American history as well as world history I have come to appreciate the magnitude of the bravery and outright audacity of what our founders actually have accomplished. As I have read more on the constitution I have realized what my freedoms are supposed to mean.
Reading the anti-federalist papers has been an eye-opening experience. This is what has caused me to realize what the American government is supposed to mean and more importantly what it is not supposed to mean. This government was supposed to be set up to give me the opportunity to succeed as well as to fail. Our government was set up to give me a voice. Well, I have found that voice.
I am looking around today, our government has failed us. As I look around today I see a two party system that is far more concerned with consolidating power for them than they are for providing the safety nets for all Americans as it was intended to do.
Like many Americans, I voted but didn’t get involved in many other ways. I went about my life. I got myself an education and then a job. I built a life for myself. Some of it has been wonderful, other parts of it not so much. I have learned to deal with the bad the best that I can and to accept the good. When I showed up at the voting booth, I tended to vote along party lines. I would cross over on occasion, but not often. I never really questioned much. I would hear about yet one more outrage our government would do, I would yell at the TV and the next morning go to work and go about my life as usual. I didn’t pay attention to what laid beneath the surface.
I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the two parties are primarily the same except for the fringes on both sides. I didn’t pay attention to the two party’s taking more and more power. I didn’t pay attention to the hypocrisy and outright deceit when they told me it was for “my own good”, or better yet “trust me”. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the federal government has been eroding the rights of the states for at least the past generation. Again, this is being done to consolidate their power, not to help me.
Well, I am paying attention now. I am tired of the federal government telling me what is good for me and what is not. They are neither my parents nor my God. I am tired of the federal government not solving issues, such as social security, just to have an ongoing argument to use during election cycles. I am tired of them saying my taxes needs to be raised or they are going to cut services such as police, all the while still spending millions of dollars on road signs to show where the stimulus money is being spent. I am tired of them thinking that I am not intelligent enough to figure out that is being done so they can tell me that they are using my money wisely, when what they are actually doing is wasting it. I am tired of watching press conferences where even Speaker Pelosi is unable to hide her visceral reaction to Sen. Reid’s outright falsehoods. I am tired of them telling me that healthcare reform is going to be budget neutral, when we are billions of dollars in debt. Unless it actually makes money it will cost money. I do understand simple mathematics. I am tired of when they are called on these stupid and wasteful expenditures they then say it is only a small portion of the budget. If you say that about 1,000 different things it is no longer a small portion is it? Do you think that I don’t understand that?
I will no longer sit at home and yell at the television. I will no longer vote along party lines. I will no longer accept the lesser of two evils. I will no longer be silent when the constitution is being waylaid to serve the purpose of party instead of country. I will no longer accept the status quo inside the beltway. You don’t know what is good for me and my family better than I do. I am sick and tired of federal laws that require a rural area of Nebraska meet the same standards as Manhattan. They are not the same and the needs of rural and urban areas are different. We want to be treated the way the founders expected us to be treated. As individuals, as human beings that have diginity and intelligence. Until you do that, I will continue to show up and to raise my voice.