Saturday, March 6, 2010

"American On Purpose" by Craig Ferguson

Rather than writing something myself tonight, I simply want to share some lines from actor/comedian Craig Ferguson's book "American on Purpose." It is outstanding, but these two stories are truly something all should read.

"It seemed to me that American patriotism had been hijacked by politicians who used it for their own jingoistic ends, and I wanted to use my television show to get away from that. I wanted to get back to the image of the gum-chewing GIs who brought swing dancing, fruit, and hope to Scotland when my parents were kids. I wanted to share the feeling I got when I received my big color poster from NASA in the mail. I wanted as many native-born Americans to understand the thrill and exhilaration that comes from joining the land of the free.
If this sounds trite I don't give a rat's ass. I believe it. America truly is the best idea for a country that anyone has ever come up with so far. Not only because we value democracy and the rights of the individual but because we are always our own most effective voice of dissent. The French may love Barack Obama but they didn't Fxxxing elect him. We did.
We must never mistake disagreement between American on political or moral issues to be an indication of their level of patriotism. If you don't like what I say or don't agree with where I stand on certain issues, then good. I'm glad we're in America and don't have to oppress each other over it.
We're not just a nation. We're not an ethnicity. We are a dream of justice that people have had for thousands of years.
I proudly took the Oath of Allegience and received my citizenship at Pomana Fairgrounds in Los Angeles in January 2008 along with three thousand other new Americans from Mexico, and no others from Scotland."

This picks up again when he went to Scotland to visit his dying mother. It picks up again below the morning after she passed.

"I stopped on Great Western Road and looked in the window of a closed art gallery at a Peter Howson painting of a shouting man with a barking dog. A short chipper gentleman of advanced years, of which there are a few in Glasgow, came and stood next to me.
'It's Craig, isn't it?' he said in an accent as thick as soup.
'It is,' I said.
He told me he remembered me from the old days when I was causing trouble in the parish. We hadn't known each other, he just used to see me around.
'Yer American noo?' he asked.
'I am,' I said.
'Must be nice, Although, you still seem Scottish to me. Nae offense.'
'None taken,' I said.
I felt a surge of affection for the old fella as I watched him walk toward a nearby pub, his giant old-guy ears pink and shiny from the cold.
Suddenly I was struck by the first broadside of terrible sadness, it sprung up and wrung tears out of me unexpectedly. I rubbed my face pretending my eyes were watering from the cold, which was entirely possible, and walked in the other direction.
I realized that in my desire to be an American, I risked forgetting where I had come from, and that would be an appalling act of self-robbery. I realized that I loved this place, that I always would, and that I would carry it with me wherever I went.
I am the child of two parents and two countries. My mother put the blue in my eyes and my father gave me grit. Scotland made me what I am and America let me be it.
America gave me everything I have today. It gave me a second chance at life. Americans taught me failure was only something you went through on the way to success, not just in the sense of career or wealth but as a person. I learned that failure is only failure, and that it can be useful, spun into a story that will make people laugh, and maybe once in a while give a message of hope to others who might need some.
For me, becoming an American was not a geographical or even political decision. It was philosophical and emotional one, based on a belief in reason and fairness of opportunity.
I swore an oath not to be cowed by the authority of kinds and churches. I won't allow any kids of mine to grow up as I did, witnessing casual hatred between children just because it had always been that way.
I didn't become any less Scottich when I became an American. The two are not mutually exclusive. I am proud of my heritage. I will always be Scottish in my heart, by my soul is American, which means; between safety and adventure, I choose adventure.
Scottish by birth, but American on purpose."

I so enjoyed reading Craig's words, I felt I had to share them with you. I have a new found respect for Craig Ferguson the man beyond his humor. I hope you enjoyed them as well. If you would like to read the book, it is "American On Purpose,The Improbable Adventures Of An Unlikely Patriot." by Craig Ferguson Harper Collins Publishing.

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