Okay, how ridiculous can this get?

Published 12:54 pm Friday, July 5, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill, Columnist
Stamps are going up again? Didn't they just go up last year? And now the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional? You're kidding me! By what Constitution? And the environmentalists out west don't want to take fire prevention measures because it might hurt the owls? Give me a break.
It seemed at times this week, as I was trying to find some semblance of order in all the political chaos around me, that I was a contestant on some bizarre game show entitled "Pick Your Issue." Or maybe it's more like being on a carousel, going around and around, trying to catch those little rings and finding on each revolution a new and more complex one.
I like to think of my political views as being "purely American". That is, not so much belonging to any particular party, but as being more of a melting pot. I've thought a lot about my views on all these subjects as they appeared throughout the week. Some, like the postal rate increases, are simply annoyances. Others bring up issues far deeper than the ones that appear on the surface. For instance, in the Pledge case, how does this ruling affect other areas of life? Does it make the use of American money unconstitutional because it bears the words "In God We Trust"? Are our Presidents unlawfully sworn in because they swear "So Help Me God"? By endorsing no religion whatsoever, is it unconstitutionally endorsing the religion of atheism? Indeed, what is Constitutional?
All of these issues (and more) face us as Americans now, and every day. In the sermon I heard Sunday morning there was a comment that struck me. The pastor said "There will be an America only so long as there are Americans."
This made me think. It is easy to say, but what is an American? I believe the true definition is this:
An American is one who understands the privilege it is to be one. An American is one who loves this country and its heritage. An American is one who educates himself personally, voluntarily in that heritage and forms his beliefs based on that study. An American is one who is willing to fight and speak out to protect our heritage. An American is one who not only knows his roots, but cares enough to preserve them and help them to grow.
I truly believe that the only way America will stand is through a return to these roots, not by government, but by individual initiative. That reminds me of another comment made Sunday that I would like to repeat in closing.
"Cut flowers are pretty, but they always die quickly because they have no roots. The only way a plant can grow is if it has roots. So it is with a country."
I hope you have a happy and safe holiday and remember our American roots, which are, after all, the reason for our celebration.
Lindsey Sherrill is a columnist for The Advance. She can be reached via email at lindsey_sherrill@hotmail.com.

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