Sunday, January 04, 2009

To Kill an American 

You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

'An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet Army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything... the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

from email


I don't know whether an Australian dentist wrote this or not. I don't really care. The author hit the nail on the head. An American may be legally defined as someone born in the United States or one who is a citizen (natural born or naturalized) of the US. But what makes an American is really defined in the final two sentences: 

They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

Americans believe first and foremost in freedom. We hold that dearer than just about anything else, except maybe hearth and home. And we are willing give our lives for others so that they can be also be free. Not all Americans agree with this part of our psyche, but that's for another post. Where else in the world has it been the norm since the founding of the country? And one of the reasons for the founding of that country? As Americans, we know we can say just about anything, short of libel, and others, who may not agree with what we said, will at the very least, agree that we have the right to say it.   

I don't like knowing that there are people out there who want to kill me simply because I was born in the United States. That's really scary. Usually when someone wants to kill others, it's for reasons we understand, but just because of where we were born? But you know what? It's not really because of where we were born, but what our country represents to the rest of the world: freedom. 

Freedom to speak out, freedom to live as we want, freedom to worship as we want. They believe that we live a sinful, corrupt way of life. And perhaps to their way of thinking we do.

Our ancestors left their European homelands because the government wanted to them to live by certain standards they didn't believe in. And now there are those who want to kill us for not living by the standards they believe in. I don't like to make promises that depend on other people but I think I can make this promise: We're not abandoning our homeland again and we will fight for our homes, families and, yes, our freedom. 

Those who want to kill us may succeed to a certain extent. But I think I can safely say this: you will never kill the American spirit. It exists in far too many people around the world. As the author of the above piece says: Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

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