Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Own Ellis Island

Well it took 36 years, but I guess I am finally an official citizen of the United States of America. Never mind the fact that I was forced to register for the draft when I turned 18. Don't worry about the fact that I've voted in numerous elections over the past 18 years. Yesterday I became officially official.

The confusion all started when my mother, born and raised in Texas, married my father who was born and raised in Canada, but long before I was born became an American citizen. After living in Texas, New Hampshire and Kentucky and having two children, they decided to move back to Canada. Port Hope, Ontario to be exact. That's when I came along. However, six months later they packed up the family and moved back to Texas.

Because I was born on foreign soil, but born to parents who were both American citizens, I figured I could claim dual citizenship or I was simply a US citizen. When I visited Canada, I just showed them my birth certificate and they welcomed me in. When I returned to the states, I simply explained that while I was born in Canada, I was born to two US citizens, and they welcomed me home. Mexico, it seemed, couldn't care less about my citizenship and just wanted my money. I never went anywhere else.

Then came September 11, 2001. I have not crossed a border since.

Now Stephanie and I are dreaming about making a trip to Europe next year, so I need a passport. Alas, my original birth certificate is nowhere to be found. I have a copy of it and an original certificate from the Canadian Consulate saying my parents were indeed both American citizens living in Canada when I was born. However, after a very confusing conversation with a lady at the post office, she told me I had to have the hospital where I was born send me an original birth certificate. This was no easy task, but after digging around the internet and making numerous phone calls to Canada, it was accomplished.

So yesterday I returned triumphantly to the post office. The lady was not there, but I was met by an older gentleman with a long ponytail and a beard. He was very laid back and told me he had been working in the passport office for 25 years. I told him my story and gave him all of my documentation. Turns out, the document I had from the Consulates office was all he needed! Within 5 minutes, the paperwork was done and he had me raise my right hand and swear that I wasn't a terrorist (or something like that). After the oath he shook my hand and said dryly, "Congratulations. You're an American citizen."

God bless America.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nuclear Rights

As a person who lives in the United States, it worries me that North Korea apparently has successfully tested a nuclear weapon. While Kim Jong Il doesn't strike me as the most stable guy in the world, he and I do seem to share a love of basketball. Word has it he's a big NBA fan. Ironically, his hatred of the Western World only reaches as far as its people and ideologies. He loves the food and entertainment choices. I like to picture him sitting on his Pottery Barn couch eating a Big Mac while giggling at a Seinfeld re-run waiting for the Laker game to start.

Anyway, in an attempt to put myself in someone else's shoes, I wonder how I would feel if I lived in North Korea and was being told by countries who have nuclear weapons that I couldn't have one. Might I be worried then?

Bottom line, it's not that I want North Korea to have a nuclear weapon, I wish nobody had one. But that's not the world we live in. No, we live in a world where billions of dollars are spent not only to defend ourselves, but also to entertain ourselves while children die because they can't afford a 20 cent immunization. That not only worries me, it breaks my heart.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Meeting God

I'm reading three good books right now and as always, my latest edition of Texas Monthly magazine. I'll tell you about the other two later, but the one I can't get out of my head is BONO in conversation with MICHKA ASSAYAS. The book is simply a series of conversations that took place between 2002-2005. If you are a U2 fan you will love it! If you have heard of U2, but only know that they are a rock band, you will be shocked by it. If you are at all interested in the music scene, how a band stays together, the mind of a Christian artist or social justice you will be fascinated by what Bono has to say. His grasp of scripture and his honest search for and belief in God are refreshing and challenging. Here is a quote from the book about worship:

"Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw...cool is the enemy of it."