Celebrate being an American and leave it at that

February 5th, 2007

Children flag

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King jr.

I truly love being an American. It isn’t just the baseball, apple pie, or hot dogs. It goes much deeper than that for me. I love the freedom that Americans have. Not just me, but every man, woman, and child in America. No matter their color, gender, or religious beliefs. We all have the same rights and freedoms. If you think about it, the folks that started this great country really had it on the ball. They painstakingly gave us our Bill of Rights and Constitution. Without them, Americans would not have the right to: bear arms, have freedom of religion or speech, or have a fair trial amongst our peers. We wouldn’t be able to dye our hair blue, read columnists that disagree with every point of government, or drive over-priced sports cars. What hindsight our fore-fathers had. The rights they put down on paper were designed for ALL Americans – not a select few. We are all to be treated fairly and to have no special treatment. That is fair. That is right.

With that said, I think our fore-fathers would be pretty sad to see what our country has come to. We find ourselves not being equals at all. We constantly hear of cultural/gender quotas when we should be concentrating on who is qualified. Our right to “fairness” is slowly being taken away. These 50 states are a melting-pot of cultures from every corner of the world. Those that live here can be of any color, any gender, any religion. We are all to be treated as equals and have the same rights and privileges. We should all be given the opportunity to work hard and do something great in our lives. That is what our fore-fathers envisioned.

If we look at American history, we see that MANY people came to this country to start fresh. Some were slaves/victims in their own countries. Some were brought to the United States as slaves. Some were persecuted once they got here. For all of those atrocities, I am truly sorry. Those things should never happen to anyone. Period. However, is it fair to say that what happened 50, 100, or 200 years ago to a distant relative gives ANYONE the right to be treated special or better than others? How fair would it be if I said: “My relatives immigrated from a distant land and were treated badly when they got here. Due to their hardships, I demand being given more privileges and any job I want. It doesn’t matter if I am not as qualified as the next person. I DESERVE to be treated better because of my ancestry.” No, that would be a preposterous demand. However, that thinking is going on today in every town, in every state.

February we are celebrating Black History Month. I think celebrating a color/race is wonderful. It gives everyone a chance to learn and respect other views, traditions, backgrounds, etc. There have been amazing blacks all throughout American history. There are: George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King Jr. to name just a few. The black culture has given us amazing people doing amazing things. However, many cultures have given to this great country of ours. Not just one.

My question is, why are we ONLY celebrating Black History Month? Our country is an environment full of different cultures/gender/religion from all over the world. Why aren’t we celebrating everyone’s unique qualities for a month as well? Whatever happened to: Irish Immigrants History Month, Inspirational American Indians History Month, Hispanic Heritage History Month, Portuguese History Month, Inuit Celebration Month, Filipino Appreciation Days, Amazing Asians History Month, etc.

Each and every one of us is an American. Believe it or not. Under our different skin pigmentation, gender, and religious beliefs (or lack of them), we are all the same. Many would like not to think that, but it is very true. We ALL need to be appreciated for what we bring to this great land.

I propose that we take each month and honor ALL Americans. We can have a new “cultural awareness month” every 28-31 days. How about: January is Asian History Month, February is Black History Month, March is Irish History Month, April is White History Month, May is Hispanic History Month, June is Italian History Month, etc.

Wait! That really isn’t fair at all. We aren’t honoring religions, gender, or age. We have only covered race. We will have to fit in: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Pagan, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Sikhism, African Indigenous, Mennonite, Shinto (and many more) History Month somewhere in there. We also can’t forget about male and female history months. Of course, we can’t leave out: infant, toddler, pre-teen, teen, adult, grandparent, great-grandparent, and Centenarian history month.

How many months are there in a year again? Hmm…this won’t do. We might have to expand our calendar to honor all the wonderful things that make us unique. I just realized that I completely forgot about professions. Sure, we have Secretaries Day and Teacher Appreciation Day. Aren’t we forgetting just a few? How about Exterminator, Gas Station Attendant, Garbage Collector, Waitress, Doctor, Artist, or Homemaker Day? Dentist, Crossing Guard, Baker, Architect, Full-Time Student, or Government Official Day?

What I am trying to say is that we are ALL SPECIAL. Should we really devote a month to one type of person and not do the same for others? Are we really teaching our children that the United States is “united” when we make one group seem more important than another?

We are a diverse country. That is what makes us so special. I believe that we shouldn’t honor one culture without honoring THEM ALL. As you go about your day, look at all the different people around you. They might have a different skin tone, talk a different language, practice a different religion, or dress a different way. However, when it all boils down to it, they are just like you. Their relatives came to this great land of ours to start fresh and to be treated fairly. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

FAces
Here is just a tiny sampling of other Americans that have made a contribution to this country. All belong (or have belonged) to the United States in the pursuit of their dreams:

Irish American: John Phillip Holland, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Michael Flatley

Asian Americans: Jerry Yang, Maya Lin, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Chu, Dr. Feng Shan Ho

Indian American: Kalpana Chawla, Har Gobind Khorana, Dalip Singh Saund

Native Americans: Sacajawea, Pocahontas , Wes Studi, Billy Mills

Italian Americans: Domingo Ghirardelli, Frank Capra, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Anthony Fauci, Joseph Stella

Why didn’t I get offered THAT job?

February 4th, 2007

Samantha BrownOk, gotta gripe here. Why wasn’t I offered the job of host for the Travel Channel’s Great Hotels? There is a really cute lady, Samantha Brown, that hosts it. Ok, she “might” do an alright job. She has a sense of humor and cute, petite figure. I will give her that. With that said, I am green with envy. In a good way…but, still…

Honestly, I think I can do much better than lovely Sam. Just think about it, this lady gets to travel around the globe staying in 5-Star hotels. She gets to sleep in the best suites with 5000 thread-count pillows with gold-foil wrapped Valrhona squares laid on top. She gets complimentary massages from some guy named Mario. She gets to eat meals laden with caviar and petit-fours in 5-Star restaurants. She gets to go on horseback excursions in the Bavarian Alps or see the Hawaiian islands while straddling two giant seahorses wearing saddles (ok, I made that last bit up..). How hard is this job?!!

Why wasn’t I offered THAT job? I can do that. I can ooze with praise about lodging, or food, or a fishing boat. I can boast about architecture or go on-and-on about the chef and his amazing feats with goose liver.

When was the Travel Channel hiring for this job? Why didn’t I see it on Monster.com? I would have put on my best aloha shirt and flip-flops and given the interview my best. I might not know about every country in the world – that is what an atlas is for. I might not know the local customs or language – that is when Fodor’s and a translator comes in handy. I can do this job!

Samantha, if you decide that global hotel hopping is boring, I’m next in line. I’m waiting by the phone with my suitcase. Call me.

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