A Day in the Life

Homeschooling and Medieval Living

Guarding Liberty

on January 9, 2013

– From the Daily Compass:

An armed Coast Guard patrols the waters around Lady Liberty, watching diligently to prevent  those who might do her (and her admirers) harm. Yet, Lady Liberty herself stands as a beacon of inclusion, declaring that even “wretched refuse” are welcome.

How are we to balance our impulse to defend against those we don’t trust with our desire to be as broadly inclusive and welcoming as possible?

This is another tough one. Sometimes I think we are a bit too welcoming. I know many Americans take great pride in living in a “melting pot”. But, in doing so, will we lose sight of what it means to be an American? Native Americans are really the only “true” Americans. Everyone else came from somewhere else. So many people label themselves as African American or Irish American. So, what exactly is an American? Will we add so many identities to our own that we will become a hodge-podge? I guess if we look back far enough, everyone everywhere is from somewhere else. The British came from the east. All people eventually lead back to Mesopotamia, if you want to get technical (at least according to my Western Civilization professor). So, I come back to what is an American? I think we are still trying to figure that one out. We are such a young country, that we just don’t have an identity yet. When I visited England, I was asked where I was from. When I said I was American, they just looked at me. When I said I was from Texas, I was flooded with questions. “Did you ride a horse to school? Do you love country music? Do you own cows? Do you live on a ranch?” It was like the term American did not really come with any baggage. But, Texans come with a lot.

In my homeschooling, I teach citizenship. During these classes, I constantly ask what it means to be a “good American”. It is still hard for me to answer that. For me, it means that I support my leaders (even if I don’t agree with them) because fellow Americans put them there. I support our troops (even if I disagree with policies) because they are fighting for my freedoms. And I wave my American flag proudly because I choose to be here.

While visiting England, I had a chance to become an English citizen. (We all have that choice. We can move to another country and change citizenship status.) I was engaged to an Englishman at the time.  We had thought about my moving there (or he would move here). We talked about many such things. We decided that it just would not work. At the time, I would have said that he broke it off with me and sent me packing. But, I really think it was a mutual decision. It was the best decision we could have made. I came back home, met someone else, and I have a lovely family. I do not regret what I did. In fact, he and I are still friends. I am very thankful for my experiences there, but I am really happy to be home. I never really appreciated my country until I tried living in another one. England is a great place and I love it, but I am happy to be an American.

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