We are all Americans. But what I've come to realize is that we might all be Americans, but there is a 'because I believe" and a "but, I don't believe" caveat for each of our identifications. It is in these becauses and buts that we differentiate between democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives, those who appreciate government and those who don't, those ware tolerant and those who are not. It is not a condemnation of any world view but a recognition that world views can be diametrically opposed while affiliations can be unified. This is much of the problem that is facing America today.
I've spent a portion of the past two days thinking about this latest revelation in relation to my own beliefs and views. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that in this context, I can better understand those who don't think much like I do. In the course of this article, I will share some of the reasons I believe in my Americanism with the becauses and the buts. Perhaps, in reading them, fellow viners will think for a few moments about their beliefs and think about how they may be more tolerant of other beliefs.
- I am an American because I believe that we all have the right to a world class education, but I also believe that the taxpayer's money should only be appropriated to public education. Every American has the absolute right to send their children to a public school and every public school must accept every child. I understand those who believe that vouchers could be a method to improve low performing schools, but I know the research indicates that is wrong. Vouchers are, in my opinion, a scam on the American taxpayer.
- I am an American because I believe that the right to freedom of religion or no religion in this country is absolute, but I also believe that the absoluteness of this right demands that the government neither recognize nor encourage any religion. That would mean that the public arena would become a religion free zone. This also means that every religion from the largest to the smallest, from the most popular to the least popular is treated absolutely equally. I understand those who believe that the founders meant for this country to be a Christian nation, but I further believe through studying our history, reviewing our courts, and reading our treaties and documents that this was not so.
- I am an American because I believe that the government is there for valid reasons and there are services, social, military, infrastructure, etc. that the government must provide, and to provide them, the government must tax those citizens who can pay those taxes, but I do not believe that we are an overtaxed nation, nor do I believe that those who are elected to govern can abrogate their responsibilities of government. I may understand the frustration of these representatives and those who support them, but I cannot see a nation being paralyzed by the inaction of elected leaders.
- I am an American because I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but I do not believe that the amendment gives people the unfettered right to own and operate a weapon. While gun advocates and those gun owners who believe that they have a right to own and operate firearms, nothing in current or proposed laws will take away those rights. It is clear that the courts over the years have stated that the government has the right to limit armament though not ban them.
- I am an American because I believe that everyone in the country is entitled to equal rights whether male or female, white or of color, gay or straight, but I believe that any American has the right to personally oppose those rights. The government,however, as the expression of all Americans must provide those equal opportunities to every American.
- I am an American because I believe that our President directs our foreign policy and we must support him when we face the world, but we have the right to free speech here at home, as long as our diplomacy ends at our shores.
I can list many other reasons that I am an American. They range from an identification with our history and our heros and heroines, to our being a nation of immigrants and a melting pot for us all, but most of all, I am an American because I know that even with all the chaos and disagreement we currently face in this nation, we resolve these differences peaceably, through the ballot box. As Americans, we have all bought into the real greatness of our people. We may be different, we may go after one another tooth and nail, but like brothers and sisters all over the world, when the chips are down, we come together, as one nation, as one people.