I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can.
I seek opportunity -- not security.
I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.
I want to take the calculated risk;
to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.
I refuse to barter incentive for a dole.
I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence;
the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.
I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout.
I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.
It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid;
to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations
and to face the world boldly saying,this I have done.
All this is what it means to be an American.
This poem was the basis for Douglas Rasmussen's speech in Aix. I thought I should not only share it with friends, but cast it in gold into my blog. Yes, I am an American, just born in the wrong country. Actually, America is an idea, not a country. Someday, the whole world will be America: land of the free, home of the brave. In the meantime, America experiences a relative shortage of Americans.