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Thankful for the hassle

It's July 4th everyone. Independence Day. A day when I like to remember why I'm proud to be an American. In my meager 18 years, I owe a great deal to America. Because I'm a woman, I owe my education, my republicanism, my idealism, and my right to happiness to America. Because I am a teenager, I owe my vast carelessness, my industriousness, my tendency to be bitchy and trite and overdramatic, my companionship, my dreams and the means to chase them, and my happiness to America. Because I am someones child, I owe my memories, my traditions, my novelty, and my safety to America. Because I am someone's friend and someone is mine, I owe my fortune, my joy, my idle moments on Saturday nights, my tears, my smiles, and my happiness to America. Because I am an AMERICAN, I owe everything I am and everything I will ever be to America. I owe these things to everyone who gave their time, energy, possessions, their very lives so that I may exist everyday not searching for them. I owe these things to the people who will one day live in the America I MUST maintain. EVERYTHING that I can possibly hope to become, every dream I have, is because I was fortunate enough to have been born free. And no statement, no matter how heartfelt, can ever make full known how appreciative I am in this moment. For neighbors I may never see, for hassels that I am lucky enough to loathe, for every moment where it is my decision to live in it, God Bless America.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
--The Declaration of Independence

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
-- Judge Learned Hand

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
--Abraham Lincoln

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Confucious

The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless.
--President Georgwe W. Bush



Miss America/Miss Afganistan

On the left is Katie Harmon, Miss America, wearing the swimsuit she chose for the competition.

On the right is a typical Afghan girl, wearing the heavy smothering burqua as required by the oppressive Taliban regime.

Miss America is a junior at Portland State University, hoping to eventually get a Master's degree in Bioethics.

Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from receiving any education at all, and cannot read or write.

Miss America has worked as a lab assistant at both the
Oregon Health Sciences University and the University of Puget Sound.

Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from working.

Miss America's father is an engineer. Her mother is a teacher.

Miss Afghanistan's father was shot by a gang of Taliban militants. Her mother begs for bread scraps since she cannot work or remarry.

Miss America wowed the judges by singing a Puccini aria, "O Mio Babbino Caro".

Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from singing or even listening to music of any kind.

Miss America will be traveling the nation nonstop during her reign.

Miss Afghanistan cannot leave her house without a male family member, cannot drive, and cannot be out after dark.

Miss America is an advocate for breast cancer research.

Miss Afghanistan cannot be treated by a male doctor, and for all practical purposes has no access to medical treatment of any kind.

Miss America can date, marry, or divorce anyone she chooses.

Miss Afghanistan will be stoned to death if caught in the company of a male outside of her family. She is likely to be sold into an arranged marriage to a man who already has two wives.

Miss America wears sunscreen on the beach to keep from burning.

Miss Afghanistan cannot live in a house with windows unless they are painted black. Since she must wear a burqua outside, her pale translucent skin has not seen a ray of sunlight in years.

Miss America could have been disqualified if her swimsuit did not meet pageant standards.

Miss Afghanistan can be flogged if the holes in the mesh covering her face are too large.

Miss America will decide how many children, if any, she wants to have.

Miss Afghanistan will be pregnant 3-4 times more often than Miss America. Unfortunately, her babies are 25 times more likely to die in the first year. One out of four will not see their 5th birthday.

Miss America is majoring in speech communications at PSU.

Miss Afghanistan is forbidden from speaking in public.

Miss America is 21. Since the U.S. life expectancy for women is 80, she's still a very young woman.

Miss Afghanistan is also 21. But since the life expectancy for an Afghan woman is 43, next year she will be "over-the-hill".(Besides having a shockingly short life expectancy overall, Afghanistan is one of the only countries in the world in which women have a shorter life expectancy than men)

Miss America is a beautiful, intelligent woman and everyone knows it.

Miss Afghanistan could be a beautiful, intelligent woman, ...
but nobody will ever know it.

God Bless Miss America
God Help Miss Afghanistan, ....