The Fourth of July is my other favorite holiday besides Christmas, and because it is, my next few posts will all be Patriotic-themed. I love being a citizen of the United States of America. I take a lot of pride in learning about our heritage and recognizing many of my brave ancestors who sacrificed so much for our freedom. America certainly isn’t perfect. Her past is full of inequality, struggle, and heartache. But I appreciate my right to say what I want, worship how I want, and become the person I want to be. I don’t like to get into politics, and I’m not trying bash on any group, although this article is pointed against Hawaiian sovereignty, but I just felt like this would be a good chance to share my mana’o.
Although I do take great pride in being a Hawaiian, I would always be an American citizen first. I always relate this to my spiritual well-being.There are some cultural practices that would interfere with my religion and I’ve always believed that I am a child of God before I’m Hawaiian. Likewise, I’m an American before I’m a Hawaiian. Being a part of this country is incredibly important to me, and here are the reasons why…
I don’t think sovereignty is necessary
I really don’t like the way things went down with Queen Liliuokalani. It was incredibly disrespectful, unlawful, and manipulative. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would rather be a part of this country than not. If you think about it, going back to a monarchy would make it so that nobody can advance. I would never want to be stuck in a hierarchy or in a world that isn’t technologically advancing. I would hate to be STUCK, not just on the island, but in my position, in my culture, etc. If Hawaii went back to the “old ways,” as the sovereignty suggests, then no thank you. I’m not a fan.
I’m a military brat
My dad worked for the Department of Defense, I’ve moved a lot throughout my life, and I lived on a military base in Japan for two years. For the majority of my life I’ve been surrounded by military personnel and culture. I’ve been surrounded by foreign foods and cultures unfamiliar in many periods of my life. I am what people might call a “third culture kid.” As I’ve moved around the world, I’ve come to realize how privileged we are, and, as such, what a great responsibility we have to do good for others. I almost joined the National Guard because I wanted to serve my country and fellowmen, and because the military has been instilled in me from a very young age.
I think of freedom as an opportunity
There’s a quote I really love, by Peter Marshall. He said:
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as an opportunity to do what is right.”
The reason I love being a citizen of this country is that we can do whatever we want, but that also means we have the capability to do SO MUCH GOOD in this world. And I said world, because it’s not just America that we can help. If I tried to be a part of a Hawaiian kingdom, I don’t think I would be able to impact the world. It might look “cool,” but how is that contributing to the greater society?
I want to make my ancestors proud
I have a rich bloodline. I have a lot of war veterans in my family, and a lot of chiefs and chiefesses in my Hawaiian line. I also have people who immigrated from the Philippines and from China in my line. As I learn more about them and their struggles to come here, I realize that I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t come here. They came in search of a better life, not just for themselves but for future generations… which leads me to my last reason…
I want to leave a legacy for those after me
I am an American before I’m a Hawaiian because I want my children and their children and all the generations after to have the same rights and privileges I do. By joining or affiliating with any kind of sovereignty groups, I am basically forfeiting those rights for myself and for them. If it was so important to my ancestors, shouldn’t it also be important to me?
Overall, I can’t express my appreciation for being a part of a country that recognizes the freedom to speech, religion, the press, etc. I know right now we are facing a lot of hardship with the current presidency, and there’s so much drama with the media. However, despite all of that, I do think it’s important to remember where we stand as U.S. citizens. Are we taking full advantage of our freedom? Are we also defending those freedoms? I think with all the chaos with our society, the lines between our freedoms and “offending” people are getting more and more difficult to define.
With that said, what are you going to do to take advantage of being a citizen of the United States of America?