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Vancouver, Washington, United States
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The 4th of July

So, it’s the first of July (yes, that heading right above this article is correct). This is my 18th July in the United States, but my first as an American. Yes, it was a long fight to get here, and I must say it’s been worth every bit of it.

Despite my misgivings about this country’s foreign policy in some parts of the world, especially the Middle East, which is where I was born and raised, I have no doubt in my mind when it comes to the overall decency of the people of this country. Yes, there are the extremists, the racists, the yahoos and the jobos, but show me a country which doesn’t have its share of those.

Americans are among the highest (if not the highest) charity contributing people in the world. In my travels around this country, I’ve seen a general respect for human life, human dignity and the human spirit. There are many people who get up everyday to do the right thing. They have a set of ideals that govern their lives, and many are willing to stand up for those ideals.

America is not a country that does no wrong. America, to me, is a set of values and ideals, ones that govern our culture. They are the values of freedom, respect for others, and fair play – give everyone their fair chance, irrespective of who they are, what they believe in and where they come from. So long as the majority of us are committed to those ideals, this country will be “America”. As soon as we abandon those ideals to those of religious extremism or racism, whether in the name of security or so called patriotism, this country will lose all that made it what it is today – it will no longer be America.

The past few years have tarnished the reputation of this country around the world and planted grave doubts about its commitment to its core values. My faith in the American people and their belief in their core values, however, was not misplaced. Americans overwhelmingly chose to reverse the dark course that their country took. I hope that the commitment to the core values continues, and on my part, I pledge here for all to hear: “my country right or wrong. If it’s right, I will support it, if it’s wrong, I’ll do what I can to correct it.”

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