Molly Alexander: Advanced Citizenship

One of my favorite movies is "The American President" with Michael Douglas and Annette Benning.  I love the romance of it.  I can't help it.  

One of my very favorite parts in this movie, however, comes when Michael Douglas' character, President Andrew Shepherd, gives a speech in a press conference that absolutely nails down the very essence of living in this great nation of ours:

"America isn’t easy.  America is advanced citizenship – you’ve gotta want it bad.  Cause it’s going to put up a fight.  It’s going to say, 'You want free speech?  Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage, advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.  You want to claim this land is the land of the free?  Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag.  The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.'
Now show me that.  Defend that.  Celebrate that in your classrooms.  Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free."

Now, as an American citizen, I tend to lean to the conservative side in most issues and President Andrew Shepherd is definitely a liberal.  My point is:  that's awesome!  What a privilege it is to live where I can express my political, personal, religious and any other kind of view, and it is not only permitted, but is my right as a citizen!

I'm not out to make a political hoopla with this post.  It is really easy to get fed up with and forget to respect this group of people or that group of people, and I just wanted to issue this gentle reminder:  we live in the greatest country on this earth, and I have to say that I am unbelievably grateful for that.  

I'm grateful and proud to be called an American.


TesoriTrovati said...

I love that movie too! And this speech is one that we would all do well to heed. The fact is that no matter what side of what fence you find yourself on we are all one. We are all Americans. We are not colored blue or red. We do not wear our political affiliation stamped on our foreheads. We need to meet people first, treat them with respect and dignity, recognize that we may not always agree on everything and see that we do have common ground. That is sorely lacking in our society today and I wish that civility would return. Thank you for this reminder. Enjoy the day.

Shel said...

Here, here! Great post!