It's day one of the post-election season and I have been attacked left and right for my choices. I proudly supported President Obama in this election, much like four years ago. That's my choice, a freedom that people died to achieve for me. I don't take it lightly. For some reason, though, some folks have it in their heads that being an American means treating people who don't think the same way they do as trash. It disgusts me.
I have heard comments wishing that the Mayans will be right, and the world will end in December. That people are ashamed to be American. That the baby-killers are applauding. All because of who is our President. Sad, isn't it? No one is forcing anyone to stay in this country. If people are so ashamed to be American, or think they'd rather die than live here in this democracy, I invite them to pack their bags and turn in their passport.
Our country has lost sight of what it means to be an American. They don't realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we have so many choices, and where our voices are heard. Where we aren't killed because we want an education, or because we disagree with what the "powers that be" may say in our city. We have a lot of work to do, of course. That's what an evolving society is all about. If we didn't we would have a citizenship that stagnated and died. Is that what people really want? Yikes. Somewhere along the way, it's been forgotten that we need to have a community worldview. To give people a hand up (not a hand out) when they are down, and to respect and love our neighbor. We don't have to all think exactly the same way to get along. Can you imagine if the whole world had to like the same music just to get along? Or if the whole country had to be *shudder* Packers fans? Diversity is what makes America special. It's what makes us interesting. Sadly, it is also what makes us selfish. No one person is right. And no one person is wrong. What is wrong, however, is having an "every man for himself" attitude. I am not saying that we give handouts to people who sit on their butts. (And seriously, the next person that insinuates that I am a freeloader because I voted for Obama is going to get an earful.) I am saying that people who are willing to work, to try, to make an effort, should get their fair shot. No one in this world got where they are entirely on their own. I, for one, know without a doubt that I would be nowhere without the generosity of others, and yes, at one point in time, the welfare system. Instead of degrading people that fall into a slump, let's give them a boost. Help them to help themselves. I bet most of those that get help will turn around and lift someone else up when they are able to, and then the chain of generosity continues. It's called paying it forward, and it's something we should all ascribe to.
I don't mean to say that the people who work hard for their money need to dole it out to people who don't work. I was told last night that if I was a "true, hardworking and taxpaying member of society" I would resent taxes being taken from said hard-earned money. Really? Do I like paying taxes? Of course not. I don't believe that anyone does. But those taxes pay for education, infrastructure, police and fire rescue, and so much more. If taxes didn't pay for it, who would? That's why even though I don't like to pay taxes, I know it's a necessary part of a democracy. If you reap the benefits of living in a free, democratic society, you should contribute as such. That's just common sense.
Honestly, I hope that we can get back to the American values of yesteryear. When you worked hard and earned your keep, and helping out someone who'd fallen on times of hardship wasn't even a thought. It was just something you did, without expecting anything in return. My great-grandma grew up very poor, and had a Depression-era mindset to her very core. She used everything till it was absolutely not useable anymore, and recycled things to make other things, even cutting out dolls from empty, clean, bleach bottles and outfitting them with clothes she made from scraps in her fabric basket. If a neighbor fell sick, she'd bring them meals and bake cookies. They shared rides to church, and spent hours and hours volunteering for various organizations. She knew what it meant to be poor, and knew that since she was doing alright, she should pay it forward to others that weren't. This is the attitude I hope to instill in my children. Rich or poor, white, black, purple polka-dotted, gay, straight, man, woman, old, young, fat, skinny: We are ALL Americans. We should all be thankful. And if someone isn't, let me repeat:
Go somewhere else!