I spent sixteen glorious days divided between Alabama and Virgina this summer. My senses revelled in the delights of American life: the taste of sweet iced tea, succulent veggies from organic farms and backyard gardens, freshly baked bread; the smells of southern evenings, rich with moss, pine trees, and humidity; my eyes lit up with fireflies at night and vibrants greens, blues, reds, and whites that were a blend of mountains, skies, trees, and farms; I felt the warm embrace of friends and family, as my ears absorbed the sounds of nature and soothing southern accents. Ah, yes! America is beautiful.
I think that I become better acquainted with America when I am on vacation because I am more tuned in to the unique aspects of this country which I normally take for granted in the daily routines of life. It’s as if I am on alert for the novelties that I would not normally see in my home state. It’s easy to contrast the independent spirit found in the country with the compromising attitude found in the city. Or ponder the price gauging in the airports that many succumb to, while facing the dilemma of organic versus processed foods in the local grocery store. I listen to the animated debates about this election’s candidates juxtaposed with updates on births, deaths, marriages, and the price of gas. This is the America that I love and want to preserve. These are the voices and faces of a country that dared to be different, that fought and bled and died for the liberty to have common sense and speak your mind.
And then I listen to the news or read the latest headlines: our elderly are humiliated by airport security. Delta denies Jews flights to Saudi Arabia; military chaplains must ignore their convictions to keep from being dishonorably discharged; professors are losing their jobs because of their Christian or conservative beliefs, and our government officials can do whatever they want without fear of being held accountable for their abuse of the responsibility entrusted to them by the American people.
But the politicians are not the only ones to be blamed. The deminishing ring of Freedom is to the collective shame of every American citizen. It is not the duty of the President or Congress to defend this country; it is an individual responsibility to value and preserve the liberties we claim to love so much.
So, Fellow American, how are you going to defend this country?