I subscribe online to a small, local, online newspaper, and in each issue, there’s a poll about news or opinion pieces in that day’s paper. 

One of the questions last week was based on a column titled Blue State Residents are “Real” Americans Too. So, the question was, of course, “Are blue-state residents “real” Americans?” 

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of voters answered “Yes.”

However, the percentage of those who said blue state residents were “real” Americans was only 75.4%, with 12.8% saying no, they aren’t, and another 11.8% saying maybe. 

Ponder that a moment, please.

A whopping 34.6% of those responding to the poll thought Americans who live in “blue states” either aren’t “real” Americans, or they just weren’t sure. 

I still find it hard to believe, even if I do I live in a “red state,” meaning the vast majority of people who live here, and thus might have voted in this poll, define themselves as Republicans. 

For the record, I am not a Republican, having considered myself as an Independent until our 45th president was elected. After that, I found myself unable to vote for any representative of a party who would consider him as a nominee for any position in our government. 

Also, for the record, I will admit while our 45th president was in office I often referred to him as our “so-called president.” But here’s the difference between me and his supporters: I never claimed he didn’t win the election. I may have said he didn’t win the popular vote (he didn’t), but that that’s not the same thing.

Nor have I ever said his supporters aren’t “real” Americans.

How in the world is it possible that some people apparently believe they have the right to decide who is and isn’t a “real” American? And what is the criteria on which they make that decision?

Is it based on what others believe or how they worship? 

On the fact that these “not-real” Americans have the audacity to speak against something the “deciders” hold dear?

How can that be correct when the freedoms of religion and speech are listed in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution? 

It’s right there in the Third Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That’s same Bill of Rights many in the “red states” hold as holy when it refers to the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Unfortunately for them, the Bill of Rights is not multiple choice, but a list of freedoms for all Americans, not just those who agree with you. 

True, it’s taken some time, with the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage coming much later, and we’re still working on it, but I don’t understand how anyone can think they have the right to say someone else isn’t a “real” American. 

On the other hand, South Carolina is a “red state,” and their legislators are apparently trying to outlaw websites tell people how to find an abortion, so maybe those who live in “red states (like mine) believe the freedoms of speech and religion only apply to their own. 

You know from my genealogy posts that my family has been in this country a long, long time. I have many ancestors who fought in the Civil War (mostly for the Union — here’s the story of one — though at least one fought on the opposite side against his brothers). My own father served in World War II, and at least one of my ancestors (possibly more), Zackquille Morgan (my 5x great grandfather) fought in the American Revolution. 

Some might think this “pedigree,” and I use the term ironically, would make me, I don’t know, a “real American?” 

I disagree. I am a real American because I was lucky enough to be born in this country. The Engineer is a real American because he immigrated here and eventually became a citizen, though he is also still a British citizen. Likewise, Darling Daughter is a real American because she was born here and a real Brit by virtue of her father’s birthplace.

If you want to be pedantic about it, and apparently I do, if you go back far enough, we all came from elsewhere.

And, as an American, I believe my fellow Americans have the right to speak and believe as they choose, just as our constitution promises. 

And this means neither I, nor anyone else, has the right to say someone else isn’t a “real” American.*

*I would have to say, however, it seems those who follow the constitution as it’s written might have a very, very slightly stronger claim to being a “real” American. 

Regrets, I Have a Few …

Sometimes, not often, I lay awake at night, unable to sleep because I am remembering things I’ve said or done that I regret.

Photo by Nadi Lindsay on Pexels.com Unfortunately, what I’m writing about wasn’t all a dream.

Mostly, I think about words I’ve spoken that I should have held back. It’s bad enough when I know I was I spoke thoughtlessly, but there are many, many things I’ve said because I was so convinced I was right, or at least that I had the right to say them.

I won’t share any examples with you because, frankly, I know I was wrong, and I am ashamed of myself.

And yet, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize what they say is true … the past is prologue, what’s done is done, and you can’t go backward.

On the other hand, I believe it’s good for us to look back on some of our actions with regret, because by doing so, we realize we were wrong. And even if we can’t correct our mistakes, we can try not to repeat them.

Instead, we can move forward and make completely new ones. 🙂

I know I’ve made mistakes, and I’m willing to deal with the consequences, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve also become less willing to shoulder the burden of other people’s poor decisions.

I’ve always tried to look ahead, to consider how my decisions will affect myself and others. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future, but most of the time, we can make an educated guess about what might happen.

If you keep making the same mistakes, without learning from the consequences, you won’t move forward.

If you don’t sock away any money, you likely won’t have a leisurely retirement. And in this case, I’m talking about people who had the money and the opportunity to invest, but chose not to do so. I understand this isn’t possible for everyone.

If you jump in and out of relationships without giving them time to develop, it’s likely you will not find a long-term partner.

If you have a partner, and you cheat, you will likely be found out and lose that partner.

Sometimes I think there are people who expect life to always be easy, happy, and fun, as if that’s a God-given right.

It’s not. And let’s face it, life isn’t fair.

I know I was born into a life with advantages others don’t have, and because of that, I’ve always felt it my duty to do the best I could with what I’ve been given. And to try to share some of those blessings and help others when I can.

That’s all anyone can do. There’s no promise our lives will be wonderful or fulfilling. The only way that can happen is if we play the hand we’ve got, using the advantages we may have been given. And if we expect another person or a job or a way of life to make us happy, we’re doomed to fail.

I’m sorry my thoughts are meandering. I’m writing partly to sort them out.

You see, The Engineer and I are at a stage where — to use a cliche — we are living our best lives. It’s a life we’ve worked hard to be able to enjoy, and we’re old enough to understand there’s no guarantee we’ll have a lot of time to do so.

So, when I think of others close to me who have made other choices, choices that mean they are not in a similar situation, I feel I can choose to feel sorry about that, without feeling obligated to try to step in.

This makes me feel guilty because I know there are others who would step in and try to do something. And just to clarify, I’m not talking about someone who is starving or homeless or in a situation that is not the direct result of their own decisions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, so feel free to leave a comment.

9/11 – Let Us Pause to Remember

Photo by Aidan Nguyen on Pexels.com

Let us pause to remember those who died on 9/11, and think as well of those who died later, as a result of that day.

How can it be that our country, which appeared so united in the aftermath of the tragedy, seems now in the process of falling to pieces?

And now, it’s more critical than ever that we work together to at least begin the process of solving the problems we are leaving behind. We owe it to our children, who are being left vast obstacles to their very existence caused by the unsustainable way of life we have created.

We could start by remembering we share this world with millions of other humans, all of whom have their own struggles, that we all inhabit this earth we are in the process of destroying.

That, at the very least, is something we share with every other person in existence.

The war in the Ukraine and the unrest in many countries including our own — these are big problems, to be sure. But if we continue on the road we are traveling, soon there will be no road, no war, no unrest, because we won’t be here.

So, let us pause to remember 9/11 and the days that followed. Let us remember not only because those whose lives were cut short by those inhumane acts of war deserve to be remembered. Let us remember because, despite the events of that day, and the thousands of years of other, equally cruel acts of war, for one brief spell, our country felt united.

Only by making that belief a reality that encompasses all people can we hope for a human future on this green planet.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com