This is going to sound really weird, but as it's been on my mind so much lately, it must be said: I am so grateful to be an American.
In South Africa, they often speak of ubuntu, which in essence means, "I am because you are, and you are because of me; we could not exist without one another."
That is how I am feeling about my country right now. It may sound ridiculous, but for the first time in my life, I see that America is not simply a place filled with people - it is those people. And we have the power to define our country, to build it and shape it any way we want. In doing so, we also define and create ourselves. It doesn't get much more powerful than that.
It's sort of like a church - yes, there's a building we call "church," but the real church is made up of the hearts and minds that gather together in that building.
You could've told me all this in the past, and I probably would've agreed (heck, there has to be an Obama speech somewhere with a similar message). But understanding with your head is one thing; to have something truly resonate in your heart is quite another.
I've been pretty sick these past few days, tucked up in bed sipping veggie broth, so I'm having trouble articulating exactly what I'm feeling. At the same time, it's such an intense feeling that I don't think I could ever fully put it into words. It's gratitude, it's love. It's idealism and activism and passion and hope. It's everything I think America can be. And, in her more transcendent moments, everything America already is.