I don’t know about you, but I was pumped for President Obama’s re-election campaign video, “The Road We’ve Traveled.” The only reason I knew the dates for this week (usually I check my phone every day) was because I knew the video was coming out on Thursday.
I’ve always wanted to live abroad, but one important thing this trip has taught me is my love for America. Lately I’ve been telling my friends that I don’t think I could live anywhere else. And it’s not just because of the food or the comfort of family, it’s about the endless possibilities I have in America. It’s about the history and culture that fuels my pride in my country. I guess you would think it would be the opposite. You would think from the scoffs about American history and politics from Europeans would make me more like my friends; they told me they would rather live in Europe or be a citizen of any other country. It’s actually just the opposite for me. I take pride in my country’s accomplishments and I recognize the political, economic, and social blunders we have made. But in a country as large and diverse as America, with differing views on every topic available, it’s surprising we’ve only had one true secession from the union.
I don’t think my love for America is just because I’m a history nerd and political junky, I think it’s deeper than that. It comes from the fact that I wasn’t an American citizen until I was in the 1st grade. It’s because wherever I go, no one thinks I’m an American. Here everyone thinks I’m from China, which I’m not I’m Korean. But more importantly than that, I’m an American.What upsets me the most is that just because I’m not Caucasian, it automatically leads to assumptions that I could never possibly be American. It’s also frustrating that people think my Asian heritage is more important. I was raised by white people. I’m an American first, I wouldn’t even consider myself a Korean second. It’s because the only culture I’ve ever known is the American one (and yes there is a culture, it’s just not as defined as other countries), and quite frankly I know a lot more than most native born citizens. For example:
- I know the preamble to the constitution
- I can name all 44 Presidents in order
- I can name every state and point them out on a map (I know a majority of the state capitals as well)
- I have the ability to talk about major historical events and even some lesser known ones (just don’t ask me dates)
- I know we have 27 amendments to our constitution (I can name a few … I need to work on this one)
- I starting taking a citizenship quiz here but it had 90 questions and my internet is slow. However, I got through 30 questions and I had 100%.
- I know what the stars and stripes on the flag represent
- I keep up on politics (sometimes only from the Daily Show/Colbert Report/Google News … don’t judge I don’t have a tv)
I don’t know if any of these things can really qualify me as an American, nor do I know what really being an American means. All I know is that many of us take our citizenship for granted. We live in a country where are voices can be heard. I know there is a lack of representation in Congress and well quite frankly a lack of progress. While money allows you to have a louder voice, grassroots movements are possible. Look at Kony 2012, and whether you agree with it or not, it has proven that your ideas can be shared and gain public awareness. Also look at the Bush vs. Gore case, where conspiracy theorists may suggest that the election could have had a different outcome if the votes were recounted.
This post took a drastic turn. I thought I was going to talk politics and about the presidential election, but I guess this was more important. I’m proud of my country. I’m proud of the fact that with motivation, encouragement and the right connections you can achieve the “American Dream.” If you have poor testing skills and mediocre grades you can still get into a good school. Your major is not dependent on your ACT/SAT score (obviously there are some exceptions). You’re Bachelors Degree doesn’t even need to pertain to your future career. Nor are you stuck in the same industry your entire life. The possibilities are endless, and that’s what I love about America.
If you take anything away from this (if you can finish reading this … sorry for the long post), take some time and appreciate all the privileges you have as an American citizen. Trust me, no matter how fed up you are with our political system we have so much to be thankful for.
- Appreciating my life
- Being a citizen of America
- Arriving home for our Independence day
- People not thinking I’m an American