Yesterday Kamel became a citizen! Tomorrow he’s going to be here, guest posting, about his own experience with the whole thing, but for now let me tell you – for anyone who was born here, seeing a citizenship ceremony is a must do.
Aside from the part where I was bursting with pride for Kamel, and choked up from the moment my parents and I dropped him off in his seating line, the ceremony itself is incredibly touching. People from all over the world are still scraping by to be part of the United States and that makes me appreciate the freedoms we have here so much more. As my parents and I talked about afterwards, we think every citizen should have to go through the oath, the ceremony, see why people make such a long journey through time and money and physical space to be here, to be able to vote, to have freedom of speech and religion and have the option to have a better life. Because even though the American Dream may be over blown, it still exists.
Yes, poverty exists in the United States. Yes, our government is flawed and big business rules in ways it shouldn’t. But! We can say we hate the government on a public blog and call them names and the law upholds my right to do so. I don’t have to worry about men with guns busting through my door. And I have the option to opt out of saying, “In God We Trust” or any other acknowledgement of God in government forms.
And while I scramble to build my career out of what I “like to do” and what I’m “good at,” I give thanks to being fortunate enough to live in a country that allows me to put my passions first. There are always going to be exceptions and unfortunate events, but their are success stories of people coming from poverty, from war torn countries, from dictators and oppression and being able to live a life of success and safety and comfort in the United States.
And for the humbling experience of taking a moment to not thumb my nose at the government and instead knowing the ability to do so is a right few people have, to understand in a real way how proud others are to renounce their country of origin and become an American, I am incredibly grateful.