An American - f/Ron and Jan Hamlin
(Posted as received with a little embelishment, |*|James L. Steele)

                    **** AN AMERICAN ****
            by Peter Ferrara, Associate Professor of Law
                George Mason University School of Law

  There was a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a
  newspaper there an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an
  American, any American.  So I just thought I would write to let them
  know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.

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

  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 choose.  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 is from 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 man
  and woman 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.  When Afghanistan was overrun 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.

  An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant,
  ungodly cruel, old men.  American men will not be fooled into giving
  up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old
  men may hold on to power.  American women are free to show their
  beautiful faces to the world, as each of them choose.  An American
  is free to criticize his government's officials when they are wrong,
  in his or her own opinion.  Then he is free to replace them, by
  majority vote.

  Americans welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all
  religions, because they are not afraid.  They are not afraid that
  their history, their religion, their beliefs, will be overrun, or
  forgotten.  That is because they know they are free to hold to their
  religion, their beliefs, their history, as each of them choose.  And
  just as Americans welcome all, they enjoy the best that everyone has
  to bring, from all over the world. The best science, the best
  technology, the best products, the best books, the best music, the
  best food, the best athletes.

  Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least.  The
  nation symbol of America 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. Many of
  them were working in the twin towers on the morning of September 11,
  earning a better life for their families.

  So you can try to kill an American if you must.  Hitler did.  So did
  General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty
  tyrant in the history of 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. So look around you.  You may find more Americans in
  your land than you thought were there.  One day they will rise up
  and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many
  lands.  Then those lands too will join the community of free and
  prosperous nations.

  And America will welcome them.

Posted: December 15, 2001  JSteele