Monday, March 22, 2010

My Americanicity is as gooder than you

I wanted to write my first post on this blog when I got inspired enough to say something that mattered to me.  Over the course of the last six months, I've had several unique opportunities to experience being an American in a different way than how I grew up.  I've lived in a foreign country since June 2009, and I only know one other American in Aberdeen other than my wife.  

Several months ago, I bought dinner form a fish & chips shop down the street, and struck up a conversation with the owner while my fish was in the fryer.  He asked if I was American, I told him I was, and he asked if I had voted for Obama.  I smiled and nodded, not sure of how he would respond.  He gave me a big thumbs-up and said in a eastern European accent," I love Obama!  He is great man, and I wish my country had him."

Admittedly, I've toned down my political intensity level since the elections, and Sarah's been keeping me up to date on the progress of various legislation and political warfare.  I still read CNN and BBC, but much more casually than during the elections.  Once Obama had been elected, I thought I'd let him take it from there.  But, today was different.  Today, the House of Representatives passed history-making legislation to help provide health insurance to many of our citizens who are so desperately in need.  Estimates put the number of uninsured Americans at 32 million.  As Sarah and I went to sleep last night, the vote still hadn't occurred and we wouldn't know the outcome would be.

When we woke this morning, we read the news and I was...happy.  Not bouncing off the walls, but happy.  As the day went on, I thought more and more about what had just happened.  An initiative that traces its roots back to President Theodore Roosevelt has taken a monumental step.  Millions of people can now afford to take care of their own bodies.  It is truly a great day.  A day to be proud!  To be excited for what we have accomplished!  There are certainly plenty of those out there who disagree with providing cheaper health insurance, though those complaints seem to come mostly from people who already have it.  But, like so many other issues, we disagree and we must move on.  

As I close, I'd like to say that I am a Democrat.  I'm a damn proud Democrat, but I am a prouder American.  I take personal offense to the notion being spread out there that Democrats are unpatriotic, socialists who either want to see our great country fail, or were stupid enough to be duped into voting for someone who does.  My wife and I are intelligent, well educated, and have a roof over our heads and food on our table every day.  However, we understand that we are not all given the same fortunes of life; that alone, we cannot pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  It is NOT okay to acknowledge that tremendous gaps exist in our country and to say," well, that's just the way it is."  We must strive each day to eradicate poverty and ignorance, to improve the lives of our fellow man no matter if it takes one presidential term or one million.  We who have, must extendour hand to those who have not.  My government ought to be an extension of that thought, and today, to my deep gratification, it was.