By virtue of having been born on the soil of the United States of American at Welborn Baptist Memorial Hospital in Evansville, Indiana, I can proudly proclaim I am an American.
But – what does it mean beyond being an offspring fortunate enough for my nativity to be in this country?
What distinguishes a person as an American other than the site of birth?
How can we tell who is an American versus who may be, say, a Canadian, who speaks and looks like most Americans?
There is no singular ethnicity to set us apart as American.
There is no particular racial classification, but a hodgepodge of all races and sub-sections.
There is no single country of colonization of this portion of the North American continent.
There is no official language.
There is no particular genetic marker to trace who is and is not an American – such as eye or hair color, skin pigmentation. An American, as the words in a children’s song, may be red and yellow, black or white.
Physical characteristics, speech and dialects, none of the usual suspects define an American.
New Americans come into the world almost every day – and not – by birth.
Americans are not persuaded or aligned with a state religion or practice of faith and spirituality. In fact, one can be an American without any belief system that envisions a power greater than ourselves.
Other than a predominance of democracy and federalism, Americans do not pledge allegiance to a universal ideology or political persuasion. Political leanings are all over the map.
Some Americans amble through life with no basis in the alter-verse of politics or ideology.
From the Cornfield, I can beat my chest and swell with pride by virtue of birth to be an American.
But what other than that marks me as an American?
Some can lay hold to the honor of being an American through the process of naturalization, denouncing any and all allegiance to the country of their birth or country of last residence.
Many of these Americans are more patriotic and willing to lay down their lives for their adopted country than those who are homegrown, to their shame.
The belief in and living up to the radical idea ascribed by the Founding Fathers that an American will defend to the death, pledging honor and fortune to protect and uphold the belief that all humans are endowed by their Creator with “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what makes me able to crow, “I am American.”
Not – because I was born in the Cornfield.
If you are an American, what makes you – other than birth – an American?
The refrain from the classic song by Argent has added meaning, not just for me, but Americans everywhere today.
For me on a personal levels hearing, Hold your head up,” pushes me to keep up the fight.
For the millions of us Americans, following senseless mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, the words us the strength to not be cowed by a madman.
We will weep.
We will mourn.
We will struggle with survivor’s guilt. We will not quit living.
We will not back down.
We are Americans!
The wife of America’s late, ace sharpshooter pens an open letter about the current controversy swirling around the National Football League:
Over the last nearly six years, since I was infected with histoplasmosis, one group of people, of whom only one has ever met me in person, has been an emotional and financial blessing.
These are former members of the CNN iReport community.
We did not and do not always see eye-to-eye on politics or social issues, but we all have a commonality of respect and love for one another. Yet, most of us only know each other online through iReport and now on Facebook.
These individuals have been my angels.
With a word of encouragement or a surprise envelope in the mail. Sometimes with a picture or a card, sometimes with a simple “like” on a post or comment.
To express my gratitude in words pales with my thankfulness felt deep in my heart.
Their actions have often reminded me of the book written by Dale Evans, “Angels Unaware.”
For these people have truly been for me – angels.
Those that are still in contact through Facebook, I want to let you know how much I have appreciated each one of you.
Kathi, Janie, Linda, Maria, Marie, Gretchen, Funda, Hilary, Julie, Shari, Lorena, Beth, Roberta, Melissa, Jodi
Mike, Keith, Stan, Gapper, Ted, Matt, Allen, Arturo, Nick
Each of you in your own way have meant so much to me.
I am sure I probably forgot someone. But my memory is not the best these days.
Remember, when that day comes, I will cross over and wait for you on the other side of the river.
This election cycle race has become a major topic of discussion. Adding fuel to the emphasis on race has been the number of people of color killed in confrontation of police.
Yet, for all the news headlines about race, the protests, the riots, the upheaval in big cities across the country, Pew Research has uncovered some interesting information. How people talk about and view race relations in the nation is largely determined by one’s race.
For the majority of whites, race seldom if ever enters the conversation on social media. For the majority of blacks, race occupies a majority focus on social media.
Check out this chart:
For most blacks, the perception is that life in the US of A is pitted with systemic racism. For most whites, the perception is that the race issue was long settled and not worth discussing.
It is our perceptions, whether from the Cornfield or from the inner city, which taints our reality to one view or the other. Thus our reality is skewed toward what we see when we look out the door. This also has an impact on what we hear from and see on the campaign trail from the candidates.
Another saying is you cannot have your own facts, but the fact is the facts are even colored by our perception which is also colored by our color or race.
Because of our perspectives being different, do our perspectives end up being self-fulfilling prophecies?
From the Cornfield, whites believe we are well on our way to that color blind society where people are accepted as people without a regard to race. Blacks believe the mountain is still far off in the distance.
Can the two perceptions ever meet and become a reality for all?
Or will we continue to struggle day by day in either ignorant bliss or fearful existence?
Read more about the Pew study: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/08/15/social-media-conversations-about-race/
This Sunday afternoon I sit in Mark’s Den watching and listening intently to heartbreaking news coming out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Three police officers have been killed in an apparent ambush. Three other officers have been shot with at least one in critical condition. One suspect has been killed. Two other suspects are being sought.
It is a little over a week since five officers were killed by a mad snipe in Dallas, Texas. Now this.
It is the eve of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. There is concern that protesters may come armed with rifles and shotguns since Ohio is an open-carry state.
Will we see a repeat of the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention?
One year ago today, I wrote about The State of Our Union.
It bears repeating:
As President Gerald Ford told Congress and the American people in 1975, “The State of our Union is not good.“
The same can be said as I sit here in the Desert and look out across our land from sea to shining sea in July of 2015, 40 years, a generation, later.
The country is at its most divisive since the mid 1960s. The country is nearly as torn as it was in the mid 1860s. But so far, insurrection, taking up arms, has not occurred.
For the past few years there have been calls by some quarters to secede once more from the Union. There was a movement, including an online campaign with thousands of signatures, for Texas, which once was a republic in its own right, to pull out of the national association of states and return to the time of Sam Houston.
At times over this last year, where many of us had thought the racial divide was giving into the melting pot, we have learned that there is a segment out there where we have a white America and a black America. There is an abyss between suburban, small town and rural areas of the country and the inner cities and areas of urban concentration.
Even between suburbia and rural, small town communities there is a divide. The more liberal occupy urban America and much of suburbia, while conservatives claim rural and small town America.
Each day we turn on the television and go online with trepidation wondering if we will be dismayed, our hearts torn, by yet another mass killing or disaster. Each day we wonder if a rogue country will launch the bomb.
Radicalism is growing and not just with those pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. Some threats are homegrown. Some threats are white supremacists, black power enthusiasts, free nationalist anarchists and so on.
Crime may be down over all, but police are backing off from serving and protecting. In many parts of the country – urban areas predominantly – police are under fire, afraid doing their job will lead to being arrested.
Politicians are playing to our baser nature, garnering large crowds. Politicians are playing on our fears to keep us in an uproar. Politicians have forgotten their duty to do best for the nation and not for their personal careers.
Then there are the millions going about life, ignoring it all. If it does not knock on their door, these millions stay in blissful ignorance, dashing toward the cliff and destruction.
These millions will wake up, but will it be too late?
While the annual budget deficit may continue to track downward, not a word about the national debt of $18 trillion plus and growing. Not a word about the generations to come already buried in red ink. We run merrily along from bubble to bubble, from crash to crash.
Yes, my friends, the State of our Union is not good.
From the Cornfield, should the national anthem be changed to “God Bless America, Again?”
Or have we traveled to far down the road of perdition where even the Almighty cannot intervene?
However, in light of Dallas and now Baton Rouge, the question is being raised if some within our American family have taken up arms in insurrection targeting law enforcement?
From the Cornfield, perhaps what is needed is to heed II Chronicles 7:14,
“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Surely if ever for the sake of the State of our Union, our land, the US of A, needs healing.