So probably the most significant event of my life happened 2 days + 21 minutes ago. Together with my amazing wife, we created a life, a beautiful girl of 6lbs, 8ozs, with red hair like me and ears like my wife. Like my wife, she hates her feet being touched and like me she can sit mesmorized staring at Sunday football. But alas, my Bears are on bye this week and tis a perfect time for our bye-week baby.
None the less, I've spent the better part of two days bonding with my Leah, learning her nuances and her learning mine. I see her future as learning, loving and laughing, living in the most free country in the world, one that faces an uncertain economical future but one in which I know we will survive, because that's what we do.
We're faced with growing dissent among our populations, overburdening taxes that rile up the most calm of citizens, healthcare that excludes a massive proportion of the populace, (I am lucky to have good insurance), crime in some cities so bad it bears abandoning them, loss of manufacturing jobs nationwide, hatred and certain discourteousness for your fellow humans rampant in cities, people that anger too easily, sleep too little, work to death, and relax far too little of the clock.
In my city of Chicago, roving bands of gangs are beating each other with 2x4s, our mayor has bankrupted us by selling off our assets, our alderman are more often corrupt or nagging nannies than actually efficient workers concerned about their constituents. Our taxes are the highest in the nation and our county board president, who was instilled in office akin to a dictator's son, has hired every member of his family short of the family pet. My street of halsted is filled with noise 24/7, countless numbers of drunken bums from the bars and shelters, the residents are fighting over a hot dog stand, and my neighbor of the floor below tried to blow up herself and half the building with her range.
It's definitely a tough time.
But I know this country, I've lived here all my life. I've travelled to some 20 countries and flew around the world, to countries with earthquakes, coups, apartheid, and people living in metal walled closets. I know this country is the best on earth to live in.
Our country is large and beautiful. It's western mountains covered in snow, the plains and midwest rivers, the southern heat and food, the beaches, forests in the north, green mountains and eastern coast lines. America's people are the best in the world, the most innovative, the undaunting ones who almost never give up. Your people are independent yet strong when needed and extremely patriotic. America's people are a conglomerate of the world and that is what makes us great. We live among the people we are friends with and the people we are not. But make no mistake. Everyone here knows what it takes to be an American.
This is still the land of opportunity and the best of opportunity. You can go to school and get the best of jobs, making a career of your skills and living well if you so choose to embrace your opportunities. You can say and express yourself in almost any way without reprisal. You're free to go where you want and do what you do. As I type I am thinking about saving for my daughter's education, her braces (both my wife and I had them), her glasses, her suntan lotion, her clothes, gadgets, ipods, and the hottest pair of shoes in 2022. The future holds uncertain events and we are ready to meet those challenges. We may be weak now but overall we are strong and I am confident in my country. I am confident in my fellow man. I am confident in the future.
It's easy to be a pessimist because things don't see to be getting any better here. But people can change. America will survive. Life can get better. Mine just did.
Leah - born 10/9/09 at 8:39pm.