Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The USA (01/08/09)
TITLE: Where Am I?
By Robert Sherbondy
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I didn't decide to be born in the USA. Of course nobody ever does, because nobody ever has any choice as to where they will be born. I was born here, because my parents lived here in a city in the Midwest. But they didn't decide to be born here either, but they were born here because their parents lived here. The process can be traced back to my distant relatives who decided to come here as immigrants from other countries several centuries ago.
Although I have now lived here for several decades, and I thought I knew this country, I'm beginning to wonder, where am I? The USA has changed over the course of the decades that I have lived here. It is changing drastically during these recent years, and more drastic changes appear on the immediate horizon.
As I grew up, I was told that this was "the land of the free and the home of the brave". That sounded good to me. I was pretty "free", except for the controls that my parents and teachers imposed upon me, but they weren't real strict. I didn't need to be "brave", because I didn't have anything to fear. My parents took good care of me, and my uncle went off to the service when war was declared.
I have now learned through the course of my life in the USA that there isn't much that is "free" and there is more to fear than distant battles that older relatives can fight.
I'm generally comfortable with most of my bills paid, safe from harm, and not engaged in any serious battles. But as I look around at the USA and the changes that are taking place here and in our world, I'm really beginning to wonder, where am I?
Am I in a land where "hard work" and retirement accounts are no longer respected? Am I in a land where "dreams" become "nightmares" because of someone's greed and the selfish manipulation of funds that were "trusted" to them? Am I in a land where there seems to be a decreasing respect for life and some confusion regarding when it starts? Am I in a land where what is "legal" is determined by unelected judges rather than elected legislators? Am I in a land where it seems to be "good business" to borrow one's way into prosperity and gamble on your future and that of your children and grandchildren? Am I in a land where a sense of "entitlement" has replaced a sense of personal "responsibility"? Am I in a land where the "experts" neither have the wisdom nor the will to really change how we live together in the USA or in the world?
I recognize that I now live in the USA. I'm a naturalized citizen of this land. I can and do vote. I can write or otherwise communicate with my representatives in the halls of government. I can and do expect the police and the military to provide me with some good degree of safety from harm, and the courts of this land generally provide a system of justice that is "fair". The USA is not perfect, but it never has been. But we just did complete an "historic" election of a new president who is ready to make the transition into office. So, as I decide to continue to live in the USA, I recognize that I have a personal responsibility to be a good citizen, to do what I can to make this land a better place to live for my children and grandchildren and others who choose to live here, to manage my resources wisely, and to "love my neighbor" (even if he or she is "different" and doesn't speak English).
Where am I? I'm in a land of great opportunity with many personal and corporate challenges, but God has placed me here for a reason. That is to serve him, because he is still on the throne that rules all of the nations of the world. So I will continue to try to do that in this land that is known as the USA.
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