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What Is An American?

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bettye Johnson
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As we move closer to the Fourth of July celebration of the Declaration of Independence, it is a challenge to define an American because the citizens of this country come from diverse ethnic grounds and as an example: American Indian, Negroid, Italian, Mexican, German, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Australian, English, Guatemalans, Cuban, and all the other countries of the world. Our heritage is multi-faceted. It is hypocrisy to say that one race is better than another is and to belittle and demean them. That is not American. This country is founded on freedom. One can read this in the Declaration of Independence.

What divides us is a belief held by a segment of our population that they are better than others are and as an example the long struggle for the African-Americans to gain their freedom from enslavement and discrimination. Even though laws are passed, there continues to be deep-rooted prejudices, which are now spilling over to the Mexican communities. It could be that these can be traced to the programming by parents and religions. This includes poor education in our schools for many children. This also can be applied to the rights of women regardless of color and nationality.

We have had almost every nationality become citizens of this great country. During the potato famine in Ireland, many came to this country while others sought the freedom we had and wanted to be a part of it. During the building of the railroads lines across this country, cheap Chinese labor was brought in to do the backbreaking work. Some died while others survived and have contributed to this country.

I remember when the Vietnam War ended that our government brought over Vietnamese families from South Vietnam. At this time, I was working in San Juan Capistrano and as I was driving to work on the freeway, I passed busload after busload of these Vietnamese people. Many were children and I noted the fear in many of their faces. They were being taken to the Marine Camp Pendleton for processing and were given government stipends. Most of them pooled their funds while living frugally so they could own businesses. They became citizens of this country.

Isn't it time for us as a people to give up our limited thinking and our hold on to prejudices, discrimination and judgments? Our scientists and archaeologists have learned that we humans can trace all of our ancestors back to Africa. We are all linked together. If there is only one God, then why do we have wars? Why is there hatred? I have heard many explanations and none make sense. I realize that there is a piece of the Divine within every human on this planet and we access it either in a limited way as spouted by the major religions, or we develop our own connection and learn to think for our self. The last sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Note the two words, Divine Providence. These two words are important because Divine Providence is not only one God, but allowing all to worship in their own way.

The time has come to re-think what we individually and as a nation represent. I want to see us be a country of people who have integrity, honor, and open-mindedness to all the differences in all people. It is time to and love our heritage - our Earth. Our Earth is in great travail due to greed and limited minds. We are no longer the first thirteen colonial states. We have evolved into 50 states. If everyone made their own personal Declaration of Independence from limited thinking, prejudices, discrimination and develop the art of allowing, then perhaps we will once again be the Land of the Free - the melting pot of the world.

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Bettye Johnson is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, an Independent Publishers Book Award Winner 2006. Moving from the cotton fields in Texas to the embassies of Paris and Tokyo, Bettye Johnson has a woven tapestry of (more...)
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