"...Where at Least I Know I'm Free"

Does anyone else think that song is a little overdramatic?  Not that I don't love the pause, key change and obilgatory standing ovation...but...  Ray Charles version of "America the Beautiful" is more my style.  Sorry Lee Greenwood...and every Rodeo I ever attended

Possibly a touch too dramatic 4th of July songs aside, I did want to share some awesome American-ness.   A few months ago I was visiting a local university in my Public Affairs capacity.  If I remember correctly, on this occasion I was facilitating a presentation about the American Presidential Primaries and we actually had a mock Republican Primary.  An aside: there was only one vote for the completely unheard of John Huntsman and when I asked the student what motivated him to vote for this man he said “In his picture he is riding a four wheeler across the desert.  That’s awesome.”  So there you have it. 

But after the presentation a student approached me and asked “Why can’t women wear the head scarf in America?”  It caught me a bit off guard but I was able to say “People are free to practice their religion in America and women can, in fact, wear the headscarf.”  We talked a little bit about the separation of church and state and the bill of rights and I have to admit, as I walked out of the University campus I got a bit choked up. 

I’m not a sentimental person and I don’t get worked up about a lot of things; but the reality of what the values we hold in America mean in practice really struck a chord with me that day.  And many other days since moving overseas come to think of it.

It’s a big deal and yes, I’m proud to be an American.     

(This post might seem a bit late for the 4th of July, but we just had our consulate 4th of July party so everything has been red, white, and blue for me all week)


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