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Second Opinions on First Impressions

I'm sitting here watching the proceedings of the NBA All-Star Game held at New Orleans. The Star-spangled Banner was performed by trumpeteer Christian Scott. It's amazing, but the anthem never fails to move me, even when performed without words. I suppose you could say I'm in love with the United States of America, but the truth is that I'm in love with <strong>the idea</strong> of America, rather than America herself.
A country where anyone has the chance to be someone. Where everyone has a voice that is heard, however grating the message may be.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/annegirl/2269177081/" title="KI1U5581 by Lucian Teo, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2314/2269177081_24af575355_m.jpg" class="img-right" width="240" height="160" alt="KI1U5581" /></a>As I walked the streets of San Francisco this morning, the reality that America is rather divorced from her original ideals hits me. The huge dome of City Hall looked very impressive with its gilded edges and ornamentation. What you do not see in the photo are the homeless people scattered around its grounds.
The currentUnited States administration has done, in my own opinion, a horrible job of keeping the faith. Bush's new $3 trillion budget's main provisions go to the Department of Homeland Security. I've been in and out of the United States many, many times, but in recent years there's been a tangible fear of walking through her immigration counters. It's like you'll never know when Homeland Security's hyperactive index finger would point your way.
America has grown paranoid. Voices, even that of the majority, have been silenced. Newspapers and blogs write about how ridiculous certain bills are, but congress passes them anyway. I'm only a visitor to this country and I've seen a fair number of veterans homeless on the streets, but Bill O'Reilly , who actually lives in America, denies their existence. Everything is upside down, America.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/annegirl/2269969690/" title="KI1U5579 by Lucian Teo, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2291/2269969690_d7373f2dc7.jpg" class="img-center" width="500" height="333" alt="KI1U5579" /></a>
Sometimes people are only as good as you believe them to be. When you stop believing in people, there is no incentive to live up to your expectations. There'd be no ideals to reach for.

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