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The American Spirit Is in Danger

Americans are a strange group and hard to define. We are as varied, unique, and individualistic as snowflakes. No two are alike and we resist any effort to make us conform.

We are loud and boisterous or meek and retiring. We are creative, industrious, hard-working, hard playing, and friendly; or snobbish, boorish, and stand-offish. We come from every continent and nation in the world and worship many different gods. We attend public schools, private schools, religious schools, home schools, or charter schools. We speak many different languages other than the Standard English.

We are urban, city folks rushing in and out of our apartments, housing developments, and condos; and country folks riding the range, managing the farms, maintaining the ranches and hillside cabins.

Unless you are Native American you have no roots in American soil. All our ancestors came from somewhere else; all were immigrants at some time. We enjoy a variety of foods from Italian spaghetti and pizza to Chinese fried rice or Hungarian goulash. We are known for hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, and pizza; but they actually originated elsewhere.

We are Democrats and Republicans. We are Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists. We are black, brown, white, red, and yellow. We are tall or short, fat or skinny. We wear long hair, short hair, or no hair.

There is no “typical” American; it is our diversity that makes us tough. When you bring such a variety of people together, it is their collective backgrounds and experiences that is our unique strength. We have learned to appreciate the differences in others. We have learned how to acknowledge our differences and meld these into a distinctive fabric that is stronger than any opponent.

When we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11 we immediately put aside our differences to create a united front. I vividly recall Congress gathering on the steps of the Capitol Building to sing God Bless America the evening of 9/11. They agreed to disagree and then came together to show the world that we can unite when it comes to confronting outside forces. I am happy to see that they recreated the scene on the ten year anniversary of 9/11. They once again gathered on the Capitol steps and sang the Star-Spangled Banner accompanied by the Marine Band.

During this time of acrimony I plead with Congress to recognize and honor our differences but vow to come together for the good of our country. Put politics and self-interests aside and join in healthy and respectful debate to find answers to our many pressing problems. We, the American people, are begging our leaders—all leaders—to work toward the common good. Without cooperation and open minds we will do to ourselves what no foreign body has done to us in over 200 years—defeat the American spirit.

 

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