This is an interesting little booklet. I have been studying for my naturalization test, because I AM NOT A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES. I know people have unique and bizarre and outrageous circumstances, but I don’t know how I grew up with an American dad in the American navy, went to American schools, studied United States history, went (am going) to an American university, have worked in America ever since I was 18 and HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO VOTE. What the heck, people.
The positive thing about the situation was avoiding jury duty. I can’t believe I’m giving that up to be noted in the books as a United States citizen. Oh, the sacrifice.
So I think the government maybe threatened my mom with her life, because when I asked her what kind of questions were on the test, she got all vague and I-don’t-remember-y. Swearing in to become a citizen of the greatest country in the world – that process – I would assume is something you never forget.
Of course Mom remembers, but she wants me to have the full experience of the process. And if there’s anyone in this chunk of the universe who can appreciate the process of anything, it’s me. And I am grateful to my mom for allowing me to grow as a little American seedling into a lush, verdant, concerned citizen, ready to get her voting game on.
The United States of America has gone through a lot. Her journey hasn’t been easy. She’s a dynamic, living organism, certainly with flaws, but I’d choose those flaws over the scar tissue and disfigurement that other countries suffer. I’d choose – that’s the beauty of being in America, an American. It magnifies the very fundamental principle God has given us to make decisions, to participate in government; not only to dream, but to do.
Finally, I’m doing. After years of hanging onto details that kept me feeling sorry for myself – having should have been adopted, feeling ungrounded and unbelonging – and the joking fear that was rooted in a truthful fear of being deported, and $685 later, the process is well underway.
(There’s humor in that, after peeling back the red tape and bureaucracy.)
I have lived in America for 30 years. I have experienced or witnessed much of the toil this country has faced in the last quarter-century. I’m not unaware of the issues; I do what I can to stay informed. This country is blessed. This country, despite of – or maybe because of – its imperfections, will continue to stand as the greatest, freest country in the world.
I love it here. I might not yet be a citizen, and I might not yet be able to do things citizens do, but by all other standards, I am an American. I am due process.
Happy Independence Day.