Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Am I "American" enough?

While I was always the "black sheep" in my original family (only girl, only "liberal"), it has only been over the last 8 years or so that I have begun to feel that I might be a "black sheep American" as well.

Let's see.... I was born in Montana (last time I checked, still part of the "real" USA) to parents who had both been born in the USA (dad Bob in Deer Lodge Montana, mom Bev in Rugby North Dakota). I'm certain my father's parents were both born in the US,and even though my mother's mother spoke German, I'm pretty sure both those grandparents were born here. I have done all the following "American" activities: hunted, fished, eaten elk, moose, venison, buffalo, antelope, all kinds of wild swimming things, - in fact almost all the meat my family ate while I? was growing up was "hunted" or "fished", or we raised it on our ranch-ette (chickens, beef, and lots of vegetables from the garden!)... I swam in mountain rivers and lakes, hiked into wilderness areas, camped, owned dogs (several), had kids, been married (to members of the opposite sex), belonged to several churches (let's see... Lutheran, Catholic, Congregational - "American" enough?), been educated through the public school system, went to a state university, played football and basketball (with my brothers, long ago, but it does count, doesn't it?), raced snowmobiles, rode horses in the "girly" events at rodeos, eaten (alot of) ice-cream, baked pies ...............well, I was raised in Western Montana for G*d's sake, what did you expect?!

Why am I worried about being "Un-American"?
-- I'm a life long Democrat, much to the chagrin of my original family.
-- I believe that every human being has worth and deserves respect, regardless of their race, religion (or lack thereof), marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender, or political bent. And I taught my children this as well!
-- I like strong, thick coffee - and I know how to make it!
-- Even in a place where many many people cling to their guns more than to their religion, I strongly believe that you do NOT need semi-automatic weapons in order to successfully hunt animals and I believe that possession of those kinds of guns makes it far more likely that you will shoot people, not "hunt" animals. I think those guns should be outlawed.
-- I actually appreciate and often celebrate "pagan" holy days. I like full moons, bonfires and walks on the beach at sunset...I have been known to practice yoga, in the nude on the beach around a bonfire with my circle of women friends.....
-- I think international travel and friendship is worth every effort and every penny, and strongly encourage it for young people! Invaluable lessons in personal humility and the commonality of humanity can be learned through travel. Oh, I guess this also means that I don't think America is "the best and only significant place on Earth"! I happen to be partial to the USA because I live here, just as other people are partial the their corner of the planet!
-- I believe that access to Health Care is a right. No one can have a chance at life, or liberty or happiness without a body and mind capable of participating in that life. Brief Aside: I think that individuals own their own bodies - parents are "conservators" for their children, but the government has no right to impose someone else's "morals" or "ethics" on my choices about my body. I have my very own "morals and ethics" that I will take into consideration, thank you very much! Best bumper sticker ever: "How can you trust me with a child if you can't trust me with a choice?"
-- I appreciate a wide variety of("un-American")food and drink. Some of my current favorites are curries from Asia, fermented traditional foods from Middle-Europe, and spicy Schzechuan flavors, accompanied by an assortment of good French, German, and Australian wines. Eclectic food choices can lead one down the path to consorting with strangers (who just might become friends, and then...Oh my G*d!?) More than half of the time, I prefer to eat no meat . In fact, as a child I was frequently chided for this preference. As a young adult I spent several years as a full-fledged (therefore "suspect" person) vegetarian. Now, I have settled into more "flexitarian" ways, and yet...... suspicion attaches to me at every family function. "They" do like my desserts however!
--oh yes, I read. I read just about anything I can get my hands on and I think everyone should have the RIGHT to read whatever they choose!! I have read bodice rippers and Louis L'Amour Westerns (Americana-lite). I have read the Communist Manifesto and enjoyed (maybe not the right word) pondering the writings of Sartre and Wittgenstein (dam* foreigners!). I read the newspaper, the on-line "Big City" papers, magazines such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Parabola and Oprah. And I read lots and lots about religion, philosophy, theology, and linguistics. Linguistics? Yes - how is it that *some* people can actually utter words and phrases such as "Un-American", "patriotism", "freedom", and have the meaning completely construed to it's opposite? Rather enlightening, and frightening when words no longer "mean what they mean" and the crowds don't question the person speaking this "langue de mensonges", this "Sprache der Lüge", this "שפה של שקרים ", this "wika ng nagdurugo" .... but I digress.
footnote: 1) French 2)German 3)Hebrew 4)Filipino

1 comment:

Dina said...

Oh Robbin you are a woman after my own heart. I was the opposite raised by 2nd generation Italians and married into the "american" wyoming family...come read my post on Obama the might like it!
I too believe life may possibly be idyllic in other countries but they all have their problems. I think the recent research was that Danes are the happiest people on the planet and they pay like 50% taxes. But a yoga teacher makes as a much as a doctor so people are free to pursue their dreams and be able to survive. Sounds lovely doesn't it?