Original post by Kathy Disque, adapted for The Bridge
I often read some of the most honest and insightful stories on Facebook because literally everyone is given a platform. Some people use it to educate their loved ones about things that they are going through such as mental illness. Others use the platform to share political perspectives. And some people are really good at recounting the minutiae of their lives with humor and wit. Each issue, we will highlight one post from social media that we found particularly enlightening.
This edition features a post made by a friend of my family. In recent months, she has posted a lot of thoughtful commentary on the current state of politics. I saw this post and felt that I needed to hear it. Though she presents these “rules” as all mandatory parts of being a proud American, I interpreted her words as good guidelines for deciding the ways in which we need to be involved. I appreciated her “do something” attitude and I think I needed to hear it. I certainly can’t check off all of the things on this list, but I plan to work harder to get that perfect score.
“Why was I so lucky to have been born in the U.S.A?”
That’s the question my son, Mak, asked as he was staring out the kitchen window in July 1985, near his birthday, and 2 ½ years before he passed on.
Just 12 years old, and Mak “got” it. He understood that it is merely luck. We are simply lucky. We didn’t do a darn thing to be born in the USA. We undeservedly lucked out. We might all ponder such a thought, yes? If so, how often? The luck of the draw could have had us born in any number of third world, dictator run, violence prone, food-poor nations. Why not us?
When people boast that they are proud Americans, I am not clear on their meaning. Proud that they were lucky enough to be born and/or raised here? Proud of their homes, appliances, central air, pedicures, social lives, bank account, automobiles, iPhones, designer labels, organic choices? Or, it is proud that they regularly help those less fortunate? Proud that they are empathic towards those less lucky, those living elsewhere, so they give from their hearts and also from their wallets, because lots of proud Americans have plenty of luck to go around?
To me a proud American:
1. Should study how a free government is supposed to work and understand the three branches.
2. Attend school board meetings or township/parish/municipal meetings and/or run for office.
3. Register to vote, and vote in local, state and federal election.
4. Willingly do his/her time on jury duty, without excuses.
5. Pay his/her fair share of local, state and federal taxes.
6. Obey the laws, not pollute, litter, waste water or energy, or over-step his/her environmental footprint.
7. Admit to our country’s grave errors to humanity.
8. Not condone or tolerate inhumanity.
9. Support public education for everyone.
10. Support all religious beliefs and places of worship equally.
11. Want no fellow American to be hungry, homeless, afraid or without medical care.
12. Make those who migrate here feel at home.
13. Volunteer wherever needed.
14. Find ways to do more than take up space.
15. Know he/she is lucky and is not smug about winning the biggest lottery of all.
So, on his birthday, I once again thank Mak for all that he gave me. Today, all day, I will ask myself, “Why was I so lucky to be born in the US of A?”