The man who stood at the entrance to my New World was my first English teacher, Ernie Kaeselau. He passed away recently, and though I hadn't seen him in decades, the news of his demise left me unexpectedly bereft.
As Republicans and Democrats continue disputing who should bear the brunt of the tax burden, Barlett and Steele argue that America's middle class has been decimated over the years due to policies governing not only taxes but also bank regulations, trade deficits and pension funds.
Regardless of political philosophy, few would argue that a society with little social mobility is a good thing. Societies in which there is little opportunity for social mobility will lack incentives for people to strive.
My love of American men didn't stop there. I wanted to go on wild adventures in the General Lee with Bo and Luke Duke, causing mischief and havoc all over Hazard County. I wanted to chase down criminals on motorbikes with the boys from CHiPs.
As a first-generation American, I am proud to live in the greatest country on earth, and proud to be a member of a generation that believes we can be even greater -- for my son, and for all members of America's next generation.
We are indeed an exceptional country, and we should celebrate that. But patriotism also means calling our nation out for its problems and troubles. Here are my top four patriotic criticisms of Americans that I wish a politician would articulate.
All over the world the rural poor leave open sky and rolling plains to flock to the edge of the metropolis and the middle class is clinging to its precious status in the heart of cities by contending with far smaller living spaces than those of previous generations.
The American Dream remains elusive to generations of children born on the wrong side of the tracks, where geography, more than individual choice, is destiny. The core tenets of the nation are wobbling, and nowhere is this more true than in Detroit.
Those who know something will never read it, or scoff if they do. Those who don't know or care about American history will never read it unless they're stuck in a dentist's office with a broken TV. Who does that leave?