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An American

I am an American that is for sure …

I spent most of my life here and I’m not that young

I grew up on Hollywood westerns, adoring James Dean,

Sydney Poitier

I watched TV series titled Dick Van Dyke, Perry Mason and Bonanza

I listened to Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Frank Sinatra

I had American teachers and I learned to speak with an American accent

I loved American food ― peanut butter, cornflakes, bubble gum and cotton candy

Everything I thought about was filtered through Americanism

Hush Puppies, overalls, ponytails, and blue jeans

Disneyland the planet of fun, and Hollywood, the Mecca of silver screens

As a teenager, I longed to get to New York City and be part of a buzzing metropolis

I guess you could say I made my dream come true but I say only partially

My journey is a long way before I reach the Promised Land

I have a vision you see; a vision of America as a beacon of decency

A true humanitarian motherland, a leader united in love with world community.

I am a naturalized citizen and I have paid taxes ever since I started work

Yet I feel neutralized, marginalized, mooted and misunderstood

When I applied for citizenship, I signed up to go to war for America if need be

I signed up to fight for the preservation of my favorite Lady Liberty

I share the American dream that all men are created equal and I love

America as one nation under God

A composite of the world’s people, a mosaic of cultures, a repository of unique expressions

America the extraordinary mélange of human community

America the great nation, the reservoir of might and technology

Greater still is the America I love with rule of law in society.

I felt safe in America because it upholds the Constitution and I lived with the assumptions that if I work hard and live right my life would be great

So here I am now trapped like a sesame seed lodged between two teeth

I deplore violence and feel the raw pain of people suffering everywhere

throbing pain from lacerating wounds all over the world, victimized innocents everywhere caught in the grips of poverty, dictatorships and multilateral agencies strangling their lives

Perhaps it is because I have been up close and lived in deprived communities

Have you been in the presence of a mother holding an infant dying from malaria?

Did you live in villages where children have distended stomach and wiry legs from kwashiorkor?

What happens when interest groups skew the truth and misrepresent the law?

What do we do when people get crazy feeding a mammoth machine for capital gains? When they trample on human rights

When exploitation and militarism canvass the world paraded as being for the people and about the people. . .

Yet, people everywhere are pulled tight like leather on a drum

Yes, I do understand that we have to break the egg to make an omelet

Would you agree that too many egg yokes spilled but too little omelet for humanity?

What about benevolent leadership? What about leading by example?

What about being righteous without partiality, what about the truth?

Not my truth or your truth but the unequivocal and unadulterated truth of ultimate greatness and highest human ideal, love for one and love for all

That is the America I strive to see and the America a home for me.

Yes, this is a country of many assets; an open society of proactive principles

Face your problem head on, learn from mistakes, move on, be yourself and be brave ― but what about today?

Stand against a ruthless war that reeks havoc around the world

You are not a conscientious objector; you may be labeled anti–American

I am an American you see; I am not willing to sit idly by and watch our ideals grow jaded and stale, ugly and distorted

I will not be silenced by fear or by self–preservation, although I’d like to be alive to see a better day

I will keep on hoping

This convulsion is a wake up call for all humanity

We must be anchored to our innate Spirit in life everlasting and obey the ultimate edicts ― above all, love your maker or love the Universe at least, and second to that love your neighbor as yourself

Is this how we love ourselves; divided and confused in the face of deceit and plundering?

Where do you stand today― lulled in a reverie of short term comfort and passing fancies or committed to build a community embalmed in justice and peace for all?

I only pray that we belong together, because wherever you are and whatever you do, my heart is one with yours in eternal love joined in the one and only Spirit that is true light and a seamless reality among us all.

Hanna M. Kebbede ©4/2003


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