to kill an american

This is one of those countless “pass this on to everyone you know” things that circumambulate in the internets and just won’t die. But when it came around again this time, it struck a chord. It speaks to the best of what we are as Americans. If someone had grafted this into Bush’s brain in the fall of 2001, we’d be so much better off. Because the best we can be is so much more peaceable than we’ve been.

To Kill an American

You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is . So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)

“An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan . The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.

The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan . Americans welcome the best of everything…the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America .

Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It’s been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.


4 thoughts on “to kill an american

  1. Liberty is a celebration of possibilities. Fear is an antithesis of that. What we celebrate then is security, though we should know that safety does not exist in the universe. Also money and technology. Because we have no consciousness of possibilities, which have little to do with what we can consume.

  2. Apparently, the words on the Statue of Liberty mean nothing today, even though those in power pretend to know exactly what "liberty" is.

  3. I guess there are times when I'm "proud to be an American," and look at the flag with a sense of affection. I hope other people around the world like their country too. I hope someday we have a nice flag for the whole damn planet, and not because we need a battle standard for a fight with another planet. I've always liked the line from the Disiderata: "You are a child of universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here." Above all else, I am a child of God.

  4. A Swede, a Dane, a Norwegian, a Brit, a Frenchman, an Italian, a Spaniard, a Greek, a Thai, a Libyan, a Haitian (you get the drift) is all of those things too. There's nothing, in my view, about "Americans" that makes them, as nationals of that nation, any better (or worse) than any other nationals. Indeed, it's thinking like that–that a person's nationality defines him or that being from a given nation gives a person any qualities at all–that created the grossest historical tragedies, from the domination of the empires of Rome and Britain to the tyranny of the Third Reich.Certainly, there are some fine people who live in America, but surely it's not the author's contention that they're fine because they're Americans. If it is, he's reading the history books that we were given in grade school.

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