What does it mean to you to be an American?...

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What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Thu 26 Jan 2012, 2:01 am

I have seen this wonderful, extraordinary documentary twice now and both times I was chocked up from the beginning
to the very end.
I feel the same about Canada I love you

It was so touching and inspiring to listen to why so many people find America wonderful ,
and why did they chose the US of A as their new home (sniff tear sniff choke sniff sniff)


One person summed it up for me. it was the man whose picture is on the very top in the link -
“About a month after I arrived, I saw a person walking his dog,” reports Hazem Taee..
If I remember correctly he is from Iraq.
And the lady whose quote is printed out is so spot on.

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/144576-citizen-u.s.a.-a-50-state-road-trip
If you have a player working, please please watch this docu! or on HBO - i hope there will be repeats.
it will make your heart sing!

And do tell me, please, what does that mean to be an American to you? What do YOU like about America?
And do you think that Americans do not appreciate what they have?

Do you think you realize that you live in USA and what you have?

Risa

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  lesherb on Sat 28 Jan 2012, 2:20 pm

I don't think I realize how good I have it and have had it all my life. This might sound silly but my first exposure to something in another country which scared me a bit was when I was in Cozumel on our honeymoon.

Cozumel is a Caribbean Island in Mexico. My husband and I got off our cruise ship and ventured onto the island. The taxis were near the port to take the tourists around. They were driving crazy and the condition of the cars was horrendous. My first thought was, how are they allowed to have these sub-par cars on the road and to drive so dangerously? Instantly I realized I was not under the rule of the United States.

I know a lot of my fellow Americans are all upset about becoming a European socialist country (because our president wants us to have univeral healthcare and other protections). I appreciate the rules we have. I don't want the lowest common denominator to be the highpoint in life.

There are many reasons to love my country. It is not perfect but it's the best country in the world.
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Sat 28 Jan 2012, 4:55 pm

Leslie, thank you for your input!

Many immigrants repeat "Americans don't appreciate how good they have it".
I thought about it and came to conclusion - but isn't it a natural thing to do, not realize how good we have it
"until it's gone"?

Also, I agree and disagree with the above statement. I think on the whole, Americans DO know how good they have it.
That's why they are so fiercely proud of USA.
I just think, in the everyday life, it's more natural to complain about menial everyday inconveniences than to remember
"I have it better than everyone else in the world".

Plus, if you settle on what you have now, you won't strive for something even better tomorrow.

Risa

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  30yrsofheadache on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 8:08 am

Risa, I tried to watch this on HBO Go, but its not working on my computer. I did see it will be back on in early Feb. on HBO, so I will watch it then. Thanks for posting it, I look forward to seeing it. I am very proud to be an American, even though its not a perfect system.

My husband is one of the complainers about heading towards Socialism. I ask him where would he rather live. I believe if you are really unhappy with the system, do something about it. Run for a local office or work on campaign issues. But, DONT JUST COMPLAIN. It seems to run in his family, his Mom is the same way.
Cindy

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 5:24 pm

Good news, Cindy, there will be a repeat very soon on HBO on Thursday Feb 2 and Sat Feb 11
starting early morning.

Please, please everyone see it!
I saw it for the third time with my daughter and I cried out loud this time, lolololol bom drunken

Risa

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  30yrsofheadache on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 4:51 am

Thanks, Risa. I will try to catch it on Thursday.I will keep the tissues close by.
Cindy

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  30yrsofheadache on Sat 11 Feb 2012, 8:29 pm

I just finished watching Citizen USA on HBO GO. It really is a beautiful documentary that reminds you how wonderful it is to be an American. And yes, I cried Crying or Very sad Thanks for suggesting this, Risa. I will tell everyone I know to watch it!
Hugs,
Cindy

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Porsche Fan on Sun 12 Feb 2012, 2:10 am

I think our 2nd Amendment....our right to keep and bear arms stands out as what helps to define American freedom. The ability of one to defend onself goes back to our origins, and has purpose today.

It is rather controversial, however many hold a strong position including myself as pro 2nd Amendment. While internally we debate over democrat vs. republican, we still have discourse and however reasoning. Sadly, reasoning is being lost in this country.
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Mon 13 Feb 2012, 2:49 am

Cindy - thank you so much for watching it!
What did I tell you? what did I tell you ? :] You cried, you did, eh?
Yeah, I know ! I cried every dam* time, blubbered like an idiot, hahahaha !

It was worth it, wasn't it though :]

I feel the same about Canada I love you

What were your favorite quotes in the documentary?
I think since I am a woman, I was most touched by a Iran (I think) lady who said she is free to speak her opinion,
not afraid of what consequences it would bring whatever she said,
not worry if she will say the wrong thing, not having to calculate what to say, how and when.

All of those ladies, a Korean one, for instance,
who was jumping for joy at receiving her American citizenship and how she feels an equal here not a lesser human being
whose birth as a girl is not celebrated with a red ribbon as boy's is.

And a guy who said he was amazed how people protected the dog's feet from hot pavement while in his home country,
people wasn't treated that well.

There were so many excellent points made in the documentary.

And Marc, lol, one person, coincidentally a Canadian guy, loved America because he can own as many guns as he wishes to Very Happy

Canada has stricter laws regarding gun owning, but it's not that bad.
I know you can have small firearm with no plm and hunting gear also.

I understand your point of being able to own a gun freely very well - your example of being ushered like herd of helpless sheep into a barn and then get burned alive, drove a "bullet" home.

And you are right, a vast majority of citizens do not wish to use a gun for sinister purposes.

Risa




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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  30yrsofheadache on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 5:22 am

Risa, I had to go back and watch it again. I cried again! So these are the ones that touched my heart the most:
The lady from Hungary who talked about waiting to get a new car all her life, only to get a yellow one that she didnt like. Because there was no choice.

The deaf woman from Russia who was so enthusiastic.

The woman whose favorite thing about America was 911 "Because they come right away for your rescue".

The Afghan guys in the food cart-too funny.

The gay man from Iran.

The woman from Kosovo who said she stayed in the US because it saved her life.

The ending where they sing God Bless the USA, it always gets me!
cheers Great movie
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 6:50 pm

Cindy, you are making me crying again ! Smile

You are so right!
I remember the deaf guys. It hit the nerve for me too, I bawled watching them,
as I grew up in Poland hearing impaired, and mainstreamed without any assistance whatsoever.
There was none back then, and I am unsure if there is any even any now. Maybe there is, but comparing to our standards
it's not still much.

I was amazed when I discovered the teletype telephone devices, and was overjoyed at Closed Captioned TV!
I immediately noticed the difference in deaf people demeanor here and there - in Poland they
were more humble and unassuming,
Here in Canada they had more "I am an equal and special citizen" attitude. I was amazed!

All of those people are in their own way so touching, their stories so unique. I laughed at this babe crazy guy, too! lolol

It is a great movie, yes I love you

Risa







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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  VickiG on Thu 16 Feb 2012, 5:19 am

I come to this question from the opposite end of the immigrants. I can trace my ancestry to the Mayflower itself, but I actually have very few native-born American friends. Out of my five closest friends, only one was born in America, and she grew up in Kenya, the daughter of missionaries who were translating the Bible into the language of one of the tribes there.

I actually just finished writing an email to someone pointing out that in high school, I was lonely and miserable and had trouble making friends until I met Mindy, from Taiwan, who introduced me to the other international students. I was the only American who really connected with that group, but I felt much more at home with them than I did with the U.S.-born Americans.

Being an American means that I get to have three "adopted sisters" from three different countries: Taiwan, Mongolia, and Mexico. Mindy, the first international student I met, became my first sister when she moved in with my family in high school. It was then only natural for my family to pick up two more women immigrants to America who didn't have any family here in the U.S. My parents stood in as parents at one's wedding and have my sisters' children call them Grandma and Grandpa. (They don't know this, but my parents even named them as daughters in their will!)

The following picture is of my "extended family," minus my Taiwanese sister, who couldn't be in the picture because she lives in Taiwan and was not here at the same time as my brother, who lives in Brazil and has a Brazilian wife, making our family even more diverse! I'm the one in the middle who stands out looking alone!



It also means that when my sisters have been in abusive marriages, they had the freedom and resources to leave their husbands without fear of "honor killings" or losing their children due to a court system that automatically gives the kids to the man (which was unfortunately the fate of my Taiwanese sister who returned to Taiwan before getting married to an evil man who only showed his true self after she became "his property"; despite his abuse, the courts gave her children to him and lets her see them only once a month!) There are plenty of resources to help women in such situations, and laws forbid discrimination in jobs, so women can work to support their children and also get child support from the sperm donors for those children.

It means that although class distinctions still certainly make a difference, there are resources for people in the lowest classes to go to elementary school when they are adults because their parents forced them to drop out of school in order to go to work at the age of 10.

It also means that no matter what color, religion, or other group you belong to, you have the freedom to marry someone of another color, religion, or other group (with the exception of someone of the same sex, except in a few states, but even that is changing). As you can see, my Mongolian sister married a white man. Her son is a beautiful mix, and I'm sure her daughter, who is due in a month, will be just as stunning.

I have spent my whole life with international students and volunteer right now leading a group (a chapter of International Students, Inc.) that invites them over to my house twice a month for a free dinner (often the only home-cooked food many of our students eat) and time to socialize with Americans and to experience American life with their "new extended American family." We tell them to think of this house as their "American home," and many bring their parents here when they come to visit. So I get a unique perspective on America from them.

While economics play a huge role in students' ability to come to the U.S., their presence here highlights the fact that education, even K-12 education, let alone a college one, is often available only to the richest or smartest people in a given country. For example, China sends more students to America than any other country because China has not created enough universities for students who are capable of handling college to get in.

I am also reminded to be thankful for the little things. My Chinese students cannot access Facebook when they go home to visit China and deeply miss the connection to friends that this one computer program allows. Even the vast variety of foods is something I tend to take for granted until my friends talk of not being able to find Mexican food or good Italian food in Asia. (When I was in Taiwan, in one major tourist spot, I spotted a sign advertising "exotic Mexican food," with the menu featuring sauerkraut! That truly is some exotic Mexican food!)

So to me, being an American means being able to celebrate the diversity of cultures who have come together to make this country much stronger by letting us borrow bits and pieces from each culture to create a stronger nation.



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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Fri 17 Feb 2012, 2:17 am

Vicky,
Welcome back !!!
cheers cheers cheers

I have no words to describe how much I missed your sweet sweet face at The Fab, and your thoughtful loving posts
so seeing your here made my heart sing!!! I love you

Thank you for sharing your incredible American story with us, the pictures and everything - you are such a generous spirit
Vicky, so remarkable, so uncommon!
Thank God for letting us have you Vicky on this Earth, for you bring us nothing but joy! flower

Re: your picture- Vicky, try to look at this thru my eyes. You see yourself as being alone, I see a beautiful, strong, capable, selfless woman
who brought all those happy people together! You freed abused from fear and misery, you gave the home when they have none.
It was your doing Vicky that they experience the joy radiating form this picture.
You think you are alone, but you are not, you are surrounded by love that was possible by your very actions!

You are like a true shepherd who lovingly tend to bis flock, but then must see them go, which yes can be sad but also is so rewarding, I hope. This speak volumes of you!

It is privilege to know you, and I feel honored to be your friend!

Thank you for having me as your friend sweet Vicky! I love you


hugs
Risa



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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  VickiG on Sat 18 Feb 2012, 4:05 am

Thank you, Risa! I'm going to try to come back here regularly again. I didn't realize how much I missed you until coming back! But also thank you for your comments! Tonight has been an especially hard night for me regarding my depression. I'm real and feeling lonely and falling to pieces tonight! I feel so useless and worthless. And I have no life!

The way my sister-in-law turned her back to me in that picture served to highlight the way she and my brother see themselves as one unit but leave me out. They are so happy and in love that being around them makes me feel all the lonelier and empty.

I'm just so low tonight that seeing your post brought tears to my eyes. I've asked my parents to try to get me to get involved here again, and I'll ask you too. You all help. I feel so worthless lately, with the only good thing being that I have international students come over twice as month, as if that is such a big deal and as if no one else would step up to take over the group if I didn't do out it myself. So I'm not feeling worth much right now and am just plain miserable!
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Sat 18 Feb 2012, 6:30 pm

Vicky,

Shocked Shocked Shocked

you- useless and worthless??? NEVER !!!! Never in a million years!!!

I am mad at all these people around you who are so selfish and can't see how beautiful person you are.
While every word I wrote in my earlier post is 100% true, it is also true that these people perhaps are not appreciating you
as properly as they should!
They should be smacked upside their hard heads, and reminded of simply good manners for starters!

No Vicky, if you only could knew how much you mean to me!!,
I so wish I was healthier b/c then I would come and visit you in California, take care of you.
I like to read and watch mindless TV for hours, so you wouldn't have to feel pressured to entertain me :]

I am very sorry you are feeling so down, depression is such a nasty , nasty business,
also please remember - depression LIES - it make us feel things that aren't true.
No way, no how you are useless or worthless! I wonder what would your adopted sister say about that?
where would they be if not for you?
Your students who you dedicate your time to? Your parents who I am sure love you beyond anything, and yes Vicky
your poophead brother, even he who just didn't achieve a life wisdom yet, a clueless lad, even he he loves you
and would the push come to shove he would tell you he values you so much!

No Vicky NO WAY NO HOW,

tch, neither migraine site was ever the same to me without you in there, sweetheart.

How did Aibileen from "The Help" said this?

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

And yes your are cheers

hugs!!!!

Risa






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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  30yrsofheadache on Sat 18 Feb 2012, 7:09 pm

I agree with Risa 100%. You are truly a gift to the people around you.
Hugs,
Cindy

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  milo on Sun 19 Feb 2012, 9:05 pm

I agree Vicky, you are such a wonderful, kind, giving person. We are all blessed to know you. (((((((((hugssssss))))))))))
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Paradox on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 8:14 am

Can I join in the I Love Risa club? She made me feel welcome at Rondas so many years ago.

Vicki, I'm coming out of a horrible depression myself. I withdraw which is why I haven't been posting. My pain meds have just been increased. I barely make it through work and then come home and lay in bed. That's it. For two years I've wanted to move but don't have the oomph or energy to sort through things and pack.

Okay...the initial question. I agree with Marc. Though our politics are very different (I'm a lefty, PF...but we can hold hands across the middle. Smile ) I'm a firm believer in the right to bear arms. During the reign of George W. When we were losing some of our rights I became a even more fervent believer in it.

Also I had the experience to travel a lot when I was young. When I was 10 years old we took a trip around the world. I came back the MOST patriotic 10 year old you've ever seen.

When we landed in Germany we were accompanied by armed guards to a small waiting room for our lay over? Why? It was the early '70s and our flight was stopping, I believe in Tel Aviv next. When we left the plane taxing out was even surrounded by soldiers in jeeps with machine guns so no hijackers or terrorist would take over the plane.

I was exposed to the floating market in Bangkok. Lovely fabrics, beautiful lush fruit, yet we saw from the stilt houses on the river, people bathing, washing dishes, swimming in the very same water that others were urinating in and dead bloated animals were floating in. We saw a dead man just laying in the gutter. When boating in the ocean a floating human body. I shrieked at my Uncle to stop. He explained that no one would do anything if we did that over there in his words "life isn't worth a dime".

Singapore on the other hand was spotlessly clean. However my Uncle warned us we could be arrested and caned for littering. Years later I had no sympathy for the American teenager who decided to vandalize Singapore by spray painting. He KNEW what the consequences would be yet he chose to ignore local law and caused a international uproar.

When we got of the plane in Bombay I was assaulted by the stench of human waste in the air. I couldn't understand not having toilets. I couldn't understand the caste system. So unfair and in humane.

And when we got off the plane in Hawaii......the lovely scent of flowers wafting through the air. Everything so clean.

So, even in my rebellious druggie days whenever I would hear the National Anthem, my hand went over my heart and I sang. Still do. I didn't care if I was cool or not. I consider myself so lucky to have been born American where my Dad could go from a small mining town in the north and through hard work and the GI Bill retire as a International Captain of a major airline. Proud indeed.
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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  Cluelesskitty on Mon 20 Feb 2012, 4:41 pm

Wow, you had a very serious experiences at 10 that most adult people don't get to have thru their entire life, Charlotte.
Wow.
Thank you, too, for sharing those with us. They read like a book!

Actually I am so amazed I am speechless at the moment, wow...

Risa

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Re: What does it mean to you to be an American?...

Post  tecky on Tue 21 Feb 2012, 4:34 pm

Agreeing with the majority here, Vicky. I so admire the work you do and your generosity to those who have no family by being their family. You are most definitely a blessing to us.

I'm in and out of depression (mostly in), too, so I understand very much what you're experiencing. You DO MATTER VERY MUCH!
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