During this coming week many holidays will be celebrated: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Over a month ago, Eid al-Adha was celebrated. It is a marvel that in the United States people of all faiths are welcome. Also welcomed are their customs and celebrations. It is a hallmark of the United States that it began with the ideals to make a home for all peoples. As a nation-state the United States was created through the efforts of many who had diverse views, beliefs and backgrounds. The fundamental conclusion was that all people could find a home where freedom from persecution was guaranteed.
This year the world has been witness to the democratic struggles around the world. The uprisings in the Arab states evidenced the human impulse for freedom, representation, and opportunity. Many of the young people who actively fostered the uprisings held the U.S. as a model.
As contentious as the political and economic terrain have been in the U.S. during the year of 2011, it is important to not lose sight of the tremendous liberties that characterize its way of life. The civil freedoms that are enjoyed by all who live within its borders continue to inspire others around the world. It is likewise important to protect and preserve the original vision that the U.S. be a nation-state that does not allow discrimination based on religion. It is a difficult challenge, to live amongst others who share beliefs that may differ from one’s own, but it is what it means to be a citizen of the United States.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Eid al-Adha more than a month ago, or you simply enjoy all the good foods during this time, these celebrations are a sign that in the United States human dignity is valued. They are an indication that tolerance and respect hold the fabric of the nation together as diverse practices are enjoyed. It is still a great country, even during this challenging time.
Good food. That must be what holds all Americans together. We all like to eat good food!