Monday, November 10, 2008

A Patriotic November

Every four years, November, a month normally dominated by turkey and the first strains of Christmas music, becomes a particularly patriotic month. Between the presidential election and Veterans Day, American flags are nearly as plentiful as they are in July. I began the month of November with very mixed feelings ... happy so many people were motivated to vote, not thrilled with any of my voting options, really tired of punditry (is that a word?) and "this message has been approved by" commercials, and tickled with Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impressions.

Today, however, I had an experience that was akin to that moment that occurs at various times during the Christmas holiday season: the moment when all the trappings, stress, and commercialism fade away and I feel able to just enjoy what it all means and why we celebrate in the first place. My patriotism was refreshed in this way today. At my Monday morning staff meeting, one of my co-workers, Alvaro, came in and proudly passed around his brand new certificate of naturalization as a U.S. citizen. On Saturday, he and his Panamanian family officially became my fellow-countrymen. His eagerness to show us all his letter "from the President" and his certificate, and to tell us about being sworn in as a citizen brought me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I know that lots of folks may think this is naive, but to me it was a good reminder that all heated debates, economic upheavals, and philosophical differences aside, it is still good to be an American.

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