::Command:: Step back and simply observe, or ponder, the staunch, passive-aggressive, ill-conceived, oft-erroneous, stands people are taking an issues these days. This is quite an irony because this particular NOW coincides perfectly with the NOW that is rife with hordes of mis- or un- informed people willingly giving up freedom in the name of, HA HA FREEDOM! Yes, we will not be known as the American Renaissance, kids. I love America and am proud of my heritage. This is an observation with no political bend. So, let me just head that off right away. I don’t want to be flooded with mail from the people I’m about to make fun of. Yes, I do want to have my cake and eat it too! Fine, write to me if you get mad. But what I’m about to write here is super true. Check it:
I just came home from a bar. As I was leaving, I somehow struck up a convo with a girl who was cleaning up. She told me about her family heritage and said that she was Dominican. I asked, as I always do in these types of exchanges, “Where were you born?” She replied, “New York”. I then observed the obvious, “So, you are American, right?”
“No, I told you, I’m Dominican! What are you?”
“My mother is Italian and my father is a European mutt, but I am American.”
“No, you’re ITALIAN. I never would have thought YOU were an ITALIAN.”
“I’m American.”, I tried again.
“No, you’re ITALIAN. When is your birthday?”
“Are you a VIRGO? No way are you a VIRGO!”
“Well, yes actually I am”
“‘Cuz I am a Cancer and we are supposed to mingle well together!”
“But you were born here, right? Doesn’t that make you American?”
“I’m from The Dominican Republic, so I’m Dominican!”
OK. No sense moving ahead with this, at a BAR of all places. So I silenced myself seeing I was getting nowhere and asked her age. 17. I then commented to a friend, who was considering enlisting in the military, that I thought it was a great idea. My new 17-year-old pundit/friend overheard me and said, “Oh, I would never join the military. This war is stupid and I hate George Bush!” Yes, she actually said that. All at once, too. Feeling like I was just told to discuss the ethical violations of The Third Reich to a Jewish Temple, I was mystified with where to begin setting this girl straight. Or, at least, letting her know that there are many flights back to the Dominican Republic on a daily basis. Perhaps she should board one. That is where she is from, after all…
I simply asked, “Why do you hate the war?”
“War is always wrong.”
“Do you know why this one, in particular, is wrong?”
She looked at me with utter disdain and said, “Oh no, are you one of those WAR people?”. I replied that I did not know what that was. Then she said, “Oh, and are you a BUSH-LOVER, too? You can’t be a BUSH-LOVER!” I definitely didn’t mean to get her started like this. It was both childishly charming and pathetic while still making me a bit angry. I simply did an ‘Ummmmm”
“You are? I guess you’re a GUN PERSON too and a REPUBLICAN! How can you be a REPUBLICAN? I don’t understand…” (finally she said something that made sense, she didn’t understand much at all)
So let’s sum this up so far. I will spare you the rest of this “conversation” because I believe that I have made my point clear. Let’s review:
This 17-year-old Dominican girl (not American, of course) has me labeled as the following, after a 3-minute dialogue:
This is a bit extreme, bit it is not unusual. Our frustration with the state of the world has begat a broiling, simmering hatred for all that is not our own. No opinions are acceptable unless they are our own, despite how little we know about issues on which we form an opinion. This, alone, is not terribly unusual. We live in a stressful time and we can get a bit clingy to our ideas, that’s okay. What is not okay is the labeling of others. These badges that I had earned in a passing conversation show how teenagers are growing up to view the world. To them, freedom means to form a strong opinion on something you know virtually nothing about, and apply a “from my cold dead hands” mentality about sticking with it.
Along with this terrible labeling disease is the will to give government a near God-like status where they will march in and cure all of our ills. We are looking at the 2008 candidates with a hunger in our eyes that seems to say, “What have you done for me lately and what will you do for me if elected?” This is not freedom, kids. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Sadly, freedom means that sometimes we’re on our own to deal with the trials of life. We can seek leadership from our elected officials. However, they cannot, and should not tell us how to live our lives. Nor should they have the power to heal or harm you directly. Government can set the stage and equip us with education. They can, in a sense, lead us to water. We must take it upon ourselves whether we, how much we, and when we drink. Freedom is not having water delivered and poured down our throats. However, with the stark convenience of on-demand society, it seems that a rapidly growing number of people would like to surrender their freedom to be “taken care of” by our government. Well, your movement lost, people. It was called Communism and it lost because it sucks. Look it up. Freedom is wonderful and worthy of our curiosity not capitulation. Freedom challenges us and makes us strong, independent people. This is exactly what modern people seem to fear. They seem to fear the hard road to self-empowerment that is the delicious fruit of freedom. It is easier to remain ignorant and simply shut out dissenting opinions while letting the government take care of everything.
Well, maybe it’s because I’m a VIRGO, or a GUN PERSON, but I love being and AMERICAN. I love freedom and I love our tireless defense of it. If you wish to remain ignorant, divisive, or refuse to embrace the term “American” and all that it represents, then I would be glad to direct you to the next flight leaving for the Dominican Republic.