I Am an American-Can You Believe That?


I am an American.

I look out my window,

and see endless blue skies

and I fear that such skies

will be choked by red flames.

Yet I walk to class every day.

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

In high school I studied a foreign language.

German.

The language of an industrious nation-

full of pride with a tempestuous history.

It pulled through the past,

only to bow beneath the weight of its neighbors

and become trapped within a union of false friends.

I fear the Atlantic Ocean is not a proper barrier

to keep the disease within Europe away.

Yet I do not endorse the high official's vaccine.

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

I read.

I love to read.

I have read Orwell and Huxley,

Basho and Ichiyo,

Camus and Voltaire,

Goethe and Brecht,

Milton and Shakespeare,

Kafka and Tolstoy,

and Shelly and Poe.

Not just as lessons, did I treat these authors and their works

-but as mentors.

Mentors of the mind.

Of the heart.

The soul.

I opened myself and allowed their words to fill me

-to fill my mind and become part of my thoughts

-to fill my mouth and become part of my conversations

-to fill my soul and become part of my life.

I am from the Midwest and believe in the power of literature.

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

I do not accept.

I question.

I question everything

I question everything with boldness,

history,

politics,

morals,

society,

teachers,

even the existence of God

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

I am my county,

and my country is me.

I am proud to be an American

-but not because of blind nationalism,

but because I understand my counrty's history.

what we sought to escape,

what we sought to become,

who we looked up to

who we turned away from,

words that we took to heart,

words that we discarded.

I cherish the history of my country for reasons beneath the surface.

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

I understand what my country embodies:

freedom,

opportunity,

freedom of opportunity.

The spirit of the worker lives within me,

too deeply entrenched for it to ever be removed.

I will succeed,

and I will also fail

-because I realize that life is not perfect.

And so rather than lay in the dust and whine

I will get up, shake myself off,

Pick up the cold torch

Where it fell, in failure, from my hand

And reignite it with the bright flame of determination.

I will not let my failure be a burden to others.

Can you believe that?

I am an American.

I believe in individuals;

their rights,

their thoughts,

their dreams,

their trials,

But more importantly I believe in their power

-the power held by each and every individual within this vast nation:

the power to persevere and preserve .

To persevere through the sadness,

the darkness,

the troubles that wear all guises

-mostly faces of people.

To preserve history

morality

honor

and most importantly,

one's true self;

not slipping down into the seemingly stylish currents of a howling Charybdis

disguised a light and playful ripple on the surface

-but to stand, rock-solid in the face of all obstacles

be they spiritual, mental, or moral.

And it doesn't matter if you don't believe that,

I do.

I believe in you,

I believe in my country.

I believe in myself.

We are all Americans.