Monday, August 18, 2008

And I'm Proud to Be a...

Still hanging out in Nashville for another day before continuing my travels. The craziness of the Bay seems far behind me. What a different world!

As I traveled across the country, the scenery changed, the people changed, the music changed, the cars changed, and values changed. In San Francisco, the City Attorney's Office was getting ready to defend the City's gun ban against the NRA's new lawsuit. In Wyoming, a senate candidate promised to protect the 2nd amendment rights of Wyoming's fiercely independent citizens. Wal-Marts, instead of billboards proclaiming Wal-Mart to be the devil, popped up along the highway. Bumpers on cars became visible. Diversity on the road increased, more American made cars, less European ones. I can't tell you the last time I saw a Prius or Volvo, but I'd bet it was still in California.

The diversity of this country really is amazing. How different people, look, dress, act. What they think, believe and dream about. The importance of families, careers, each other, self. Backgrounds, upbringings, futures. Flat corn fields, rolling hills, steep mountains, lakes and rivers, deserts and salt plains. It's all beautiful.

Both the variety in land and people gives American's a unique opportunity. If we don't like where we live, we can move. Yes, I know it's not always easy to just pick up and move. Yet, it is possible, and easier to move within one's own country than to a foreign one. No matter where someone chooses to go or stay, the most important thing is that they can be proud of where they live and who they are. That's the one consistent piece between all the places and people. That's how to find happiness.

I am very proud to identify as a Milwaukeean. And I can be proud to live in the South. But I've learned there are some places I could not be proud to call home. This is a good thing. It means I'm starting to understand myself, and how I can build a happy and fulfilling life.

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